Thursday, February 18, 2010
Sugar, Sugar Everywhere
Here is my question for the day: When did it become normal to have treats at elementary school-related events? I'm not talking about the cafeteria or vending machines. I'm talking about cookies, candy or sugary lemonade readily available at every event, party and "out-of-the-ordinary" occurrence.
I ask this, because I have witnessed it during the last two weeks. I regularly volunteer at my 1st grader's school. And yes, I have seen all kinds of treats offered at various occasions. I guess over the last 10 days, I was really struck by the overabundance of sugar-laden, fat-filled, gut-busting treats that were continually offered to my kids.
Valentine's parties? Brownies, m&m's; and untold amounts of candy exchanged by students.
School carnival? Candy was everywhere as game prizes and rewards; soda, lemonade and other treats up for purchase, to name just a few. Don't even ask about the foot-long Sandy Candy tubes (filled with colored sugar - to eat).
Science Night? Cookies, lemonade.
Open House? Cookies, lemonade.
Preschool? Cookies offered at snack (seriously).
My daughter was even given candy as a reward for behaving in class. And I'm not even counting the sports games, birthday parties, playdates and whatever else was available on top of what was offered at school during this time.
Now, believe me, I have no interest in banning anything (see my Mmmmm...chocolate post). I think treats are an integral part of childhood. Who doesn't remember chasing the ice cream man down the block, coins jingling in your pocket? Or snow cones on a blistering summer day? And the after-school Oreos and milk? But see, those times were out of school and under the watchful eyes of parents.
I'm simply questioning what seems to have become the norm, at least in our elementary schools. Don't kids today get enough opportunity for treats outside of school? Just a thought.
Let's turn to other alternatives, food or otherwise, for some of the school activities. For example: I brought tiny packages of baby carrots and mini water bottles to the 1st grade Valentine's party. The verdict? Most of the kids exclaimed they loved carrots - and they ate them (alongside the brownies and candy, but hey, don't look a gift-horse in the mouth).
What other ideas do you have? Share them in comments and let's start changing the mindset of our schools today!