Yesterday my daughter had a group music theory lesson with her piano teacher. She came home with 14 pieces of candy. It looked as if they had gone trick-or-treating all over again. Apparently, the piano teacher gives a piece of candy every time they get something correct during the lesson. I really don’t think it’s a big secret these days that there is an obesity epidemic in America’s adults and children. Do educators really need to be rewarding our children with junk food? Why can’t children feel good about their efforts without having to associate sweets with that feeling? In my opinion, this only sets up a very bad emotional eating pattern.
Several years ago a teacher at my daughter’s Montessori school had the same practice of rewarding her students with candy. She also punished them by making them run laps. Somehow, I was the only parent who was appalled at this. Our society has it all backwards. What does giving children exercise as a punishment teach them?
Our children are the most unhealthy generation ever. They eat candy, fast food, and processed food more than anything else. They are extremely sedentary sitting in front of tv’s, computers, and hand held devices all day long. As a result, their immune systems are very weak. Children as young as 4 are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, while 9 and 10 year olds are already showing signs of being at risk for cardiovascular disease. More and more children are being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and are being medicated with very strong drugs. Is it any wonder the flu seems to kill children under 18? I don’t believe the flu (swine or other wise) is that deadly. I just think our children are so unhealthy and have such weak immune systems that they succumb easily.
As parents it is our responsibility to ensure our children’s safety and health. This includes making sure they have a balanced, healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Children should be eating fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates everyday. Children also need to be getting 60 minutes of exercise everyday. Doing this as a family is a great way to unwind and enjoy each other. It’s never too late to help your children be healthier!