Alternatives for Using Food as a Reward

Using food as reward in the classroom or at home is easy, inexpensive, and may result in short term behavior change.  However, the long term effects have many negative consequences for children.  It may contribute to poor health such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and dental cavities. Rewarding children with food does not provide a healthy lifestyle model.  Consider using alternate methods of rewarding children from the list below.

  • Give a smile and provide verbal praise

  • Allow student to go first in line or during an activity

  • Allow student to sit by his/her friends

  • Give student the title of “Teacher’s Helper” for the day

  • Let the student choose a class activity

  • Have the student eat lunch with the teacher or principal

  • Allow student to take care of the class animal for the day

  • Place a photo recognition board in a prominent location in the school

  • Give student a note from the teacher commending his/her achievement

  • Make a phone call or send an email/letter to the student’s parent/guardian

  • Recognize student on the school’s morning announcements or school website

  • Give student a ribbon or certificate of achievement

  • Give student a sticker

  • Allow student to visit the non-food treasure box to pick out stickers, pencils, pens, sidewalk chalk, bookmarks, notepads, etc.

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