A Healthy School Birthday Party–But Did We Really Need the Food?
|January 10, 2014
|Posted by Stacy under Classroom parties, Classroom treats, Cupcakes, Healthy parties, Healthy school snacks
My oldest son recently celebrated his 8th birthday. Last year, when he was in 1st grade, birthdays were celebrated once a month as a group. But his 2nd grade teacher follows a different playbook: She allows each student to bring in a treat to share with the class.
When I suggested bringing popcorn as his birthday treat, I wasn’t sure how my son would react. Fortunately, he loved the idea–as did a couple classmates who happened to be in earshot. Wow, that was easy! To make it feel special, I found some fun movie theater-style popcorn containers and–voila!–we were done. He was happy, and I was relieved–I didn’t know what I would have done if he’d insisted on having cupcakes or another sugary treat.
Then a funny thing happened when I went to the classroom on his birthday. As his classmates sang the Birthday Song, my son’s face lit up. When they were done, each child took a container of popcorn as he or she sped out the door for recess. And in the frenzy of it all, I couldn’t help but think: Was the popcorn even necessary? Would he have felt just as special if the other kids had simply wished him a heartfelt happy birthday or made him a card?
Food is part of our culture–and yes, it can be an integral part of celebrations. But do we really need to serve it on every special occasion, especially at school, where it can be distracting and can leave kids with food allergies feeling isolated and left out? I’m all about healthy snacks in the classroom, but I also wonder if it would be better to teach kids that not every celebration has to revolve around FOOD.
In my personal food journey, I’ve finally learned that I don’t have to indulge at every special event or holiday. I can go to a party and not fill up on sugary treats. This isn’t the product of willpower but rather of changing a habit that was ingrained early on in life. I treat myself occasionally, but only when I really want it–not just because it’s there.
What are thoughts on birthday treats at school? Love ‘em, hate ‘em, or not sure? I’d love to hear your two cents! Please scroll down to leave a comment.