Ok, you would think I knew better by now but old habits die hard! We are so programmed to associate treats with rewards that it’s almost instinctual to react like Pavlov’s puppy! 🙁
Yesterday my youngest slept in her bed ALL NIGHT and she skipped into the room the following morning beaming with pride at her accomplishment. I immediately smiled as a good mama should and the following words floated off my tongue and into the air without hesitation:
“Oh, honey! I’m so proud of you. I’ll have to give you a treat today!”
Seriously?! Did I REALLY just say that?
Of course, her response was “Yay! Can I have candy for breakfast?” Ugh!
I realized that she assumed I meant candy, cookie, or ice cream and told her no. The look of sheer disappointment on her sweet little face saddened my heart. I tried to regain control of the matter at hand and explained that treats aren’t only candy and toys. It can be a play date with a friend, alone time with mommy or daddy, choosing the movie we’re going to watch, going on a picnic, or other things. She settled for the play date option and her world was once again a better place…whew!
I realize that it takes AWHILE to undo our perspective and we truly need to renew our minds about food and how we “celebrate” with it. How many times have we worked hard and rewarded ourselves with a frappucino, cupcake, or other junk food and rationalized that we “deserved” it? Let’s break this cycle and look to other satisfying rewards for our children and ourselves from time to time.
Now don’t misunderstand me here. I am NOT in any shape, form, or fashion suggesting that you completely cut out treats. Heck, I “rewarded” myself with a Pumpkin Spice Latte last week and enjoyed every sip of it. Simply find other go to’s so every good deed or accomplishment doesn’t end with a processed this or that. 🙂
If you’re totally stumped for healthier or alternatives, here’s some ideas for non-food rewards:
1. Picnic in the park
2. Camp out in the back yard
3. Extra Tech Time
4. Stay up a little later
5. Choice of Family Night Movie
6. Date with Mom or Dad
7. Skip a Chore
8. Local Attraction: Museum, Play, LaserTag
9. Trip to Bookstore/Online Book Gift Card
10. Craft/Art Supplies
What do you do as a special treat for yourself or your little ones that you would like to share?