Tuesday 9 March 2021

Why You Should Stop Giving Sweets as a Reward to Your Child?


Being a parent is one of the most beautiful challenges in life. We all wish the best for our children in every aspect of their lives, yet when it comes to nutrition we are the ones developing and shaping their eating habits from day one. Healthy food, plenty of fruits and vegetables should be on the daily menu, however avoiding sugar is almost impossible nowadays. Can you imagine a birthday party without a cake, soda and chips? Can you tell a child not to eat them at the birthday party? Yes, we admit that this could be challenging, especially when kids are throwing tantrum or refuse eating the veggies and for the sake of having some peace, often treating them a candy or chocolate is the way plenty would choose. Of course there will be exceptions when a child will have some sweets, however limiting the amount to the minimum is the best you can do. If giving sweets for a job well done or to calm a child down becomes a regular practice, then there is a possibility for developing eating disorder and refusal of eating healthy food. In addition, this will affect the way of thinking your child will have for specific food. For instance, if you keep on rewarding your child with a candy after drinking a specific juice, at some point your child will start considering that particular juice as something he/she prefers not to drink. Simply said, it has a reverse psychological effect. This practice of punishing or rewarding your child with food will have long term consequences. In addition, the child might develop a habit of eating when not hungry and the intake of extra calories without nutritive value can lead to weight gain. Sugar and food dyes in sweets are also detrimental for the teeth and there is a serious possibility of developing an early caries and passing it down to the permanent teeth. Furthermore, the higher the sugar intake is the greater the risk for hypertension, mood shifts, fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes later in life.


Our advice as dental clinicians is to avoid excessive sugar consumption yourself since you are the example your child will follow. In emergency situations when you will feel tempted to give a sweet reward, think twice, think better. There is always a solution! Replace the candies with some healthy snacks including fruit, oats, dark chocolate, nuts and natural sweeteners. Do not forget, drink plenty of water, avoid sugary drinks and come together with your child for a dental check up.

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