We were sat having dinner this week, doing the usual thing of ‘let’s spend quality time together as a family and try to sound interested about each other’s days.’
“What did you do at school today?” I asked Belle, (obviously. My fiancé is too old for school.)
“PE,” she said. “It was fine, I got a lollipop.”
“A lollipop?” I asked, surprised.
“Yes,” she said, “because I did well in the stretching exercises and sit ups.”
“You do well at a physical activity and they reward you with sweets?” I asked again, probably getting the redness in my cheeks that gives me away as being a bit pissed off.
“Yes,” she said again, clearly losing patience. “This one time, if we won a badminton tournament, we got a giant chocolate chip cookie. And once you complete the mile run you get toast and chocolate spread.”
Now is this just me, or does that seem just plain wrong? I’ve had one child or another in school for 16 years now, and it’s always been the same. I remember being aghast one day to get a letter home from Belle’s primary school, asking us to complete a permission slip for our children to taste exotic fruits that week. At no point was I asked my permission for their good work to be rewarded every day with Haribo.
It goes back to the point I made recently about this instinct to give sugar as a treat. I’m not saying I’m an angel, who only ever rewards her children with hummus – far from it, as you’ll see if you read that post – but surely the role of a school, of teachers, is to educate, to set a good example?
Surely there’s another way to motivate kids to try hard at badminton, without having to resort to cookies?
Photo credit – Africa Studio/shutterstock