Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Junk food and Marbles

We don't eat a lot of treats at home. Mealtime, is usually very healthy, and can be pretty serious business. Sometimes, though.... you just gotta let loose! Every once in a while when Chloe earns a treat, she gets a REALLY BIG treat. This is a bowl of rocky road ice cream, with sprinkles AND three big marshmallows! wow! I think she got this for eating a huge mound of broccoli with her dinner. :) We all laugh at the crazy idea of eating such a big treat, but it's fun. You better believe Chloe isn't the only one who ate her broccoli and had a bowl of ice cream!!
Another time we let loose was when we all ate cookie dough and kale chips for dinner! (following a late lunch)

I used to think that I'd be the kind of mom that never allowed for sugar or treats. But, I think if we completely said no to any junk food at all, we'd would never have the chance to teach Chloe how to eat responsibly. I eat junk food, and I stay healthy, so it stands to reason she can, too. I can tell when it's getting a little out of hand with Chloe. She sometimes starts to ask for candy or treats all day or after every snack or meal. It's a balance that's hard to keep with a 5 year old. It's easy to want to use candy to motivate good behavior every time. Sometimes I just insist she listen. No reward but a happy mom. I also try to reward good behavior in other tangible ways.
Recently, we began the "marble" system. Chloe has a collection of marbles I put in a bowl. Every time she does something positive like having a good attitude or reaction to something, or saying something thoughtful or nice, showing her manners, offering to help... pretty much anything I can think of that is a good action from her, I say "you just earned a marble" or two or three, depending. She earned 5 whole marbles for being so very brave getting on her bike and wanting to learn to ride it. She's really struggled with the bike thing, and I was very proud of her for facing her worries like she did. Each time she empties the bowl of marbles and fills up her glass she gets to choose between a small treat or a dollar. Its pretty funny to me the times she chooses a small treat. I don't think she realizes yet, that a dollar can buy way more than what shes getting. She's learning how to count her money and save her money up for something she wants. Lately she's been saying she wants another build-a-bear. She already has three, so I told her I wouldn't buy her another one. If she wants to save up her money and buy herself one, I would be fine with that. So sometimes, she's asking if we can go to the store so she can see how much different things cost. She hasnt bought anything for herself yet, I imagine it will be pretty empowering for her, though. She can also loose marbles for negative behavior or attitude.
So far, the marble thing is working fabuliously! I'm sure it will fizzle out and we'll have to come up with something else, but for now it's good. Maybe we can just start making the rewards bigger as she gets older. :)

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