Food, and as an extension, sweets, are used as a reward if something is done that deserves praise and acknowledgement, such a performing well in school, doing well during a sporting event, or even doing chores around the house.
Chocolates, biscuits, cakes, crisps and treats like this are often used as a reward, but these types of treats are also high in fat, salt and sugar, and is not necessarily something that is needed as part of a balanced diet.
Using food and treats as a reward can also lead to unhealthy eating behaviours, such as eating when not hungry, expecting an instant food reward if something has been accomplished successfully, or gaining weight.
Using food as a reward with children, is one of the factors that lead to childhood obesity; something that is already an increasing problem in the modern world. Children that are obese often lead to obese teenagers and in turn to obese adults.
Food is required for children’s growing bodies to provide energy, repair their bodies, and support growth. It is not recommended that food should be used as a reward, food is fuel, but that does not mean it cannot be enjoyed.
Think of alternative rewards for your children, such as inviting a friend over on a play date, taking them to a zoo to see their favourite animals, taking them to a movie, buy a toy or book, or simply by spending quality time with your child.
Food can be enjoyed, but it should not be used as a reward, especially not oversaturated, sugary treats.