Alternatives to food as a reward

Alternatives to Food as a Reward                   

Food is commonly used to reward students for good behavior and academic performance.  It’s an easy, inexpensive and powerful tool to bring about immediate short-term behavior change.  Yet, using food as reward has many negative consequences that go far beyond the short-term benefits of good behavior or performance.

Research clearly demonstrates that healthy kids learn better.  To provide the best possible learning environment for children, schools must provide an environment that supports healthy behaviors.  Students need to receive consistent, reliable health information and ample opportunity to use it.  Finding alternatives to food rewards is an important part of providing a healthy school environment.

The number of birthdays and holidays celebrated by an average elementary school class means that sweets can become regular snacks, rather than occasional, special treats.  In addition, it has become increasingly common for teachers to use candy to reward and motivate students.  If food must be used as a reward, healthy choices are encouraged and it should be part of a learning experience.  This flyer offers alternatives to help promote consistent messages about food and health.

Our lower school division head shared this resource from Kansas State's Johnson County branch of the Research and Extension services about alternatives to food as a reward. It is well written, easy to understand, and has great tips. Read the full post here.

arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (, a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.