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Do you bribe your kids to eat?

Okay, so I know I am going to stir up some controversy here, but I thought I’d confess my own experience and ask you to do the same. No holding back here… Be honest…

We all know my 5 year old eats well. So well, that I don’t worry about her, but like any other kid, when she sees there is dessert in the house, she’s suddenly “done” with dinner. So with her, I have no problem saying, “eat your dinner first and then you can have dessert.” A mild bribe if you will.

With my 3 year old son, who does not eat well, I have been moved to desperation and have found myself at times saying, “okay if you eat just your peas, you can have this Swedish fish.” And then I catch myself and am horrified. But you moms of picky eaters know what I am talking about! We’ll try anything!

Incidentally, it doesn’t work. The picky eater does not get motivated by bribes. In fact, at that point it becomes a battle of wills, I find, and they hold out even more or throw a tantrum because all they want is the Swedish fish. I really shouldn’t even have the fish in the house.

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about my crime of passion:

Don’t offer dessert as a reward. Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which may only increase your child’s desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week. Or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.”

I like the redefine dessert ideas. Here are some of Rachael’s recipes for desserts on the healthier side:

Stacked Fruit Sticks

French Toast Cups with Fresh Fruit and Cream

Berry Easy Dessert

For the Mayo Clinic’s full page on advice for parents of picky eaters, go here

Alright, let me have it…

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