Healthy rewards in the classroom

Explore healthy ways to reward students in your classroom or group.

Teachers are back in school and volunteers are gearing up for another year of working with youth. When working with young children, there are times when it is good to reward their behavior or achievements they have made. Often times the first thing that comes to mind is a sucker or piece of candy. These rewards are high in sugar and have little to no nutritional value.

As schools and communities around the state and nation are trying to become healthier, Michigan State University Extension recommends that rewards given out in classrooms and community groups follow the same message as nutrition education.   

Michigan Action for Healthy Kids created a list of alternatives to using food as a reward that can be used in the classroom, school or 4-H club. Here are some great ideas from their list:

Zero cost alternatives
Sit by a friend, read outdoors, make deliveries to the office, listen to music while working, eat lunch with the teacher, dance to favorite music in classroom or be line leader.

Low cost alternatives
Enter a drawing for a donated prize, trip to a treasure box, stickers, pencils, school supplies or have a game day.

Be creative and think of fun, yet healthy ways, for kids to feel good about their behavior. This will help youth develop life skills centered around being healthy and making healthy decisions.  Let’s motivate our students to make healthy choices which will make more of an impact than a piece of candy.

To learn more about helping youth make healthy choices and teaching kids about nutrition, visit MSU Extension.

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