I have a confession to make, I use food to bribe my children. And no it’s not healthy food, it’s in the form of Freddo Frogs, McDonalds and Ice Cream.
I don’t do it all the time, just in cases of emergency… like having to do a million things in one afternoon – with children. I strap my daughter in the pram, and the only way she will sit there happily whilst I go to the bank, post office, Medicare etc is if she has chocolate Freddo Frogs, and yes more than one!
Am I a bad mother? I don’t think I am, my children eat very well. They only eat wholemeal bread, they eat lots of fruit and even though I disguise their vegetables they eat those too. I don’t allow my children to have soft drink, lollies or junk food – so maybe that’s why the food bribes work, because they know it’s naughty food that’s not good for you – so in a way I’m actually teaching my children that there is good food and bad food, and mummy only lets them have bad food as a big treat (when she is desperate)!
Sadly being a busy working mum with not much help, I resorted to food bribes early on, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty, but I would also be lying if I said they didn’t help me! If a few Freddo Frogs or a rainbow ice cream cone buys me a few hours of children being happy and quiet instead of screaming and whining, I’m all for it – call it Sanity!
It’s also amazing how much a food treat can take away pain and fear in children, many a grazed knee or injection is soon forgotten with a delicious lollipop in hand! My mother guilt with food bribes eased after several visits to the Royal Children’s Hospital where both my children had nurses and doctors hand them lollies for being good – and being able to buy a happy meal and a smile from the Hospital McDonalds made me realize I wasn’t such a bad mummy after all!
In no way do I recommend a diet of McDonalds, Ice Cream and Chocolate for any child, I am just saying it is ok to allow your children an occasional treat if it helps them or you in any way. The most important thing is to let your children know it is a treat, and that junk food is not good for their bodies. My children know how important good food is and we encourage lots of exercise, sport and playing outside.
It’s never too early to educate your children on healthy eating, and what foods are special treats and why they can’t eat them all the time.
It’s also important to ditch the guilt, if you sometimes give in and let your children eat a treat to cheer them up and give you a break, feel happier in the knowledge that I’ll be opening up a Freddo party pack along with many other mummies too! Claudia