We have gotten in a bad habit (as a society) of making food and drink the reward for everything. From good behavior, weight loss goals, raises, job interview, birthdays, marriages, divorces...etc., we have figured out a way to make up a reason to eat or drink about nearly ANYTHING! To quote a friend of mine as we were discussing this...most people say, "Let's go grab lunch...not, let's go for a jog!"...and she is right. We use food as a way to feel connected to people and I say it's high time to replace that "reward" with something else!
Rewards should be tailored to each individual family, their interests and the things that really get them jazzed up. For my seven year old, I would say that a family walk or nature walk would easily be a bigger reward to her than ANY food we could make. Is it easier to hand her a snickers and give her a pat on the back....well sure BUT easy isn't the goal! I can guarantee that if I offered her candy or a nature walk, she would choose the second. Kids are smart....but we have to set the right examples and put them on the right path. We don't raise our kids to be lazy....so we shouldn't be lazy raising them in the first place!!! I challenge everyone to go a week without using food as a "reward" or as incentive to get something done. Ask your kids what they would like for a reward...if they choose a food, steer them in a different direction. Not only will it keep them from loading up on junk food....it will teach them that there are more important things in life than food.
I'll love to hear what great ideas your family comes up with for alternatives to food rewarding! Let me know!!