When I was a kid I had dessert every day, two meals a day. There were always a couple of cookies in my lunch box and a small bowl of ice cream or a popsicle or something after dinner. At dinner my sister and I needed to “qualify” for dessert by tasting everything served to us but the standards were pretty low. I don’t remember ever NOT qualifying. The range of dessert options was pretty limited and my mom controlled the quantity, but dessert was a daily occurrence for us and probably for most of the kids we knew.
Because that was how I was raised, I think nothing of letting my 5 year old have a couple of cookies after pre-school or a scoop of ice cream after dinner. He’s an active kid, I make sure the rest of his food is healthy, no biggie, right?
Maybe not. A friend posted on Facebook this week that she’d overheard another mom saying that her kids only get “treats” one day a week. This sparked a conversation among other moms about what’s allowed and how often in various houses and it turns out I’m way more permissive with sweets than most people. One mom even mentioned that her pediatrician was shocked to hear that a child got ice cream after dinner every night and was only reassured when told that portions were small.
I had no idea that sweets were so strictly controlled by so many families. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me in the age of rapidly escalating obesity problems among kids and yet somehow it did. I figured all kids were allowed a cookie or two and that I wasn’t being particularly indulgent. Finding out that my son gets more sweets than some of his peers has me questioning my choices: am I setting him up for a lifetime of craving sweets? I’ll confess, I have the urge for dessert after meals largely as a force of habit, not hunger. Are my kids going to mindlessly reach for the Chunky Monkey for the rest of their lives? On the other hand, it’s summer! Popsicles! S’mores! Ice cream cones!
I dunno. I don’t think treats are that big a deal but I also don’t have kids with health issues that would make them a big deal. How about you? Do your kids get treats? How often?