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It seems to me that if you were concerned about your child getting enough sugar in his diet, there are plenty of opportunities to supplement it. Even so, when my children's elementary school just adopted a no-treats policy for all things school-related, things got tense. You thought Obamacare was divisive? Try the two camps of parents who fight for the right to party (with treats) and those who believe we should, on a child's birthday, clink carrot sticks. Both sides get equally angry. But are both sides equally right?
Personally, selfishly, I'm
pleased with the policy, because it means that I can give my kids treats when I
want to, without having to worry about it being the 180th gram of
sugar they've ingested that day. I can say, "Let's go for frozen yogurt" when
I want frozen yogurt, and know that it's a treat for everyone.
Last year, my children
would routinely come home from school, their lunch boxes still stuffed to the
brim with sweaty, uneaten food and say, "Sami brought in cupcakes for her
birthday and then we had a marble party with ice cream sundaes, so I wasn't
hungry for lunch."
That was not a rare
occasion. It seemed as though there was always a good reason (or two) to feed
my child dessert. And that then rendered my
dessert, the one I'd been looking forward to all day and had (maybe) crafted
with my own hands, superfluous.
The parents in the community lashed out.
There are a few exceptions, such as class fundraisers, which usually involve a bake sale or a popsicle sale. But for the most part, school is a treat-free zone.
I interviewed a woman a few
years ago who knew a lot about diet and nutrition—she was the head of the Yale Rudd Center for
Food Policy and Obesity—and the rule she had with her kids was two treats a
day. They had to keep track, themselves, and they were on the honor system. To help with this rule, she led a crusade to ban cupcakes from school on birthdays. According to her, you'd
have thought she had suggested they stop teaching history. The parents in the
community lashed out. Why? Because she was a wet blanket and no fun: the lady who
It's similar at our school, but parents have become creative within the no-treats rule, bringing in pizza,
strawberries and whipped cream, and smoothies. One parent even brought in a craft
for the kids to do. The kids are used to it, and I hear more complaints from parents than
Has your school done away
with sweet treats? How have parents responded? How do you feel about it?