So…it was report week in our house, which got me thinking….. I decided to ask Sienna what kinds of things she thinks are great rewards/special treats. Check out her list, lol:
- 💄 Make a trip to Ulta (and look around for lip gloss)
- 🎞 Go to the movies (she wants to see The Greatest Showman..have you guys watched it? Is it good?)
- ⛸ Go ice skating
- 💵 Cash money (so she could go buy things at Target)
See, we come from a place of relating school to her job. I mean, that is where she spends the majority of her time just like Jason and I go to work, and the truth is we really expect her to do her best in school. Well, in our jobs we are often recognized for a job well done….it could be bonuses, a plaque, or a certificate, so why wouldn’t we recognize her accomplishments when she does her best??
BUT we really work hard at getting away from rewarding those accomplishments with food. I know that was a go-to for me when I was growing up – like you did something that means ice cream…you did something that means you get to pick dinner out…you did something that means you get to eat extra dessert that night and that kind of mentality has followed me. It has not been mentally healthy for me, and if I’m being completely honest something I’m still working to overcome.
There are so many ways to celebrate other than food! Because really – food is fuel. It’s job is to give us energy not be a reward. Let’s be honest, Sienna is going to get way more use out of a fun new lip gloss or lots of memorable laughing moments at a family ice skating adventure that she ever would from the moment of a “free” donut. (ps – why do we give free food to kids for grades anyway?!?)
I think as parents we have such a great opportunity to change the “food as a reward” situation that plagues our society…just little shifts in their world and it can start with something as simple as the report cards. I would like to challenge you to change the way you reward your kids or even yourself. Instead of going out for that celebratory dinner or that celebratory ice cream, how about a celebratory trip to the movies (that doesn’t include the popcorn and soda lol!), or a celebratory trip to Target for lip gloss, or whatever is that you know would make your kid happy because they all have something…maybe it is a new baseball bat, a new cool baseball, or anything that they’re excited about. Food is not a reward and we have to start changing that way of thinking – our kids need our help.