In today’s world, ensuring that your children are healthy is undoubtedly a top priority. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that childhood obesity rates (in children aged 6-19) have tripled since the 1970s, and that about one in five school-aged children is obese. These are staggering numbers, and it shows that it is more important than ever to pay special attention to your children’s nutrition. Thankfully, there are ways to allow them to enjoy some sweet treats as rewards while still helping them to maintain a healthy body weight. We will go into just how to do so below.
Don’t allow indulgences without requiring a healthy lifestyle overall
It feels natural to reward your children for being on their best behavior, earning good grades, or routinely doing their chores with a sweet treat or a serving of their favorite food. However, in order to do so in a healthy way, it’s important to set guidelines for a healthy lifestyle that your child must maintain in order to earn their reward. Set expectations that they must exercise a certain number of times per week or spend a certain amount of time outdoors. Also, keep track of how many servings of fruits or vegetables they eat each day, ensuring they hit a reasonable quota before doling out a treat.
Ensure rewards are reasonable
In order to keep a healthy balance between health and rewarding your kids for various achievements, ensure that you are offering reasonable rewards. For example, a good grade on a spelling test shouldn’t be met with the reward of eating a big slice of cake every night that week. Instead, it could be limited to receiving one special dessert in exchange for the good grade, as long as the other health requirements for the week are met (as mentioned above). This keeps rewards reasonable and healthy, all while still pleasing and incentivizing your little one!
Create a balance between food-based and non-food rewards
Not all rewards have to revolve around food. Having a mix of incentives that also include items like toys, allowing your child to pick a fun activity, or allowing them to watch more television than usual ensures that you are not encouraging them to associate accomplishments solely with sweets and junk food.
Always associating rewards with food can translate to unhealthy habits as they grow up, such as emotional eating or unhealthy dietary habits overall. For this reason, it’s vital to have a balance between food-based and non-food rewards to keep your children motivated and as healthy as possible, too.
Be consistent and keep up your end of the bargain
Consistency is important when it comes to raising healthy and happy children. It’s also an important part of rewarding them in a positive way and for encouraging good behavior. In order to ensure your reward system works the way you want it to, be consistent in your rewards and ensure that you are doing what you agreed to in order to build trust with your kids and to motivate them further.
One way to give your kids something to work towards is to have a recurring routine that gives them something to look forward to! Subscribing to a monthly treat box like this one sets the parameters of the reward, allowing kids to know just what to expect month after month. You can also portion out the rewards effectively using a system like this, keeping it to a healthy level – but simultaneously being super fun and exciting for your kiddos!
Like most things in life, these rewards are best done in moderation. Finding a way to effectively incentivize your children while offering them a healthy level of rewards ensures that everyone is happy. These tips also help you to ensure your children are leading a well-rounded life and that they do not feel completely deprived of any sweets or treats, while still maintaining the ever important balance that is needed for their overall wellness. We call that a win-win!