April 11, 2017
With the rise of awareness in the areas of food, health and our sugar intake it still astounds me that lollies and chocolates are being given as treats at school and sporting events.
Once upon a time lollies, chocolates and soft drinks were infrequent treats. Saved for birthday parties or family celebrations. Birthday parties were also infrequent treats, every second or third year even.
Nowadays if there are 25 children in a class the entire class is often invited and in some cases are more like events, rather than a homemade affair.
I remember as child saving my pocket money and walking to the local deli to purchase my $2 bag of lollies or cobbers in my case.
Fast food was saved for school holidays and used as treat. I remember if we ever had Hungry Jacks, mum would only buy the burgers, never the soft drinks and 1 or 2 serves of fries to be shared amongst 5 of us.
How often do you have fast food? Do you save it as a treat? Or do you use it for convenience?
There are many fast foods that I simply can't eat or just not willing to feed to my family.
There are also times when life has gone way too crazy and the only way I will stay sane is to grab something quick at the shops.
We have all experienced those times.
So when my children come home from school having had a red frog, milky way or some form of commercialised treat my first response is frustration.
I understand the teachers desire to bless my kids and praise them. But what I don't think the teachers understand is we operate on a quota system. Now that my kids have had that treat I cannot give my kids a treat or I now have to limit what they eat on the weekend.
We are being bombarded as parents by social events, weekend catch ups and when do you say no?
We look like we are being mean parents or even extreme.
So what is the answer?
How do we say no to the treats or reduce them significantly without affecting the social aspects of our children upbringing?
I don't have any real answers except to offer an alternative to the teachers. This alternative requires some effort from us as parents.
But I believe if we want to see real change in the future health of our country we require real change at a grass roots level.
If we remove or replace the food treats in the classroom, kids won't grow up looking at food as reward.
Why not donate a popcorn machine to the classroom and offer to package little bags of popcorn to replace the lollies. (Organic Popcorn of course!)
If you have any parents gifted in the kitchen, why not donate the ingredients to making homemade lollies with fruit juice and gelatine?
Or as a classroom pitch in to create a treat box for the teacher - pencils, balloons, stickers, non food items.
We do expect a lot from our teachers these days, but one of the main reasons the lollies and chocolates have entered the classrooms is because they are cheap and require little effort from the teacher.
They are busy managing the behaviour from our little ones because the school lunchbox consists of too many refined ingredients, or as a result of too many celebrations on the weekend.
What can you do to help your child's teacher?
Are you willing to start a class discussion for the future health of our country?
I plan to give you those options over the coming weeks as I develop more alternatives for the lunchbox and classroom treat.
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