School Cupcake Ban: Good Idea or Too Extreme?

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/30/2010 11:07 AM   :  248 comments   :  17,160 Views

My daughter is in preschool, and I believe it's good for her. She's learning important social skills, and enjoys telling me all about the things they talk about at school each day. "What did you do today?" is a question I always ask on our way home. I don't always get to hear about what she's learning, but I do hear all about the games they played during playtime and of course, what she had to eat. It seems like at least once a week, someone has a birthday or they celebrate a holiday and she fills up on sugary foods. I try to relax about it a little, because I think occasional treats are fine. But inside I cringe when I hear about the junk that other parents bring for their kids to share, and how often it's happening. A school district in Michigan has recently put a ban on food as part of school celebrations. It might sound extreme to some, but I think it's a great idea.

The Alma school district (where the ban has been imposed) has implemented the policy as a way to combat childhood obesity. Instead of treats, students celebrating birthdays get an extra 30 minutes in gym class. The district has received federal stimulus funds to create new nutrition standards across the state. The nutrition standards are currently voluntary, but could become mandatory state-wide. This most recent ban goes above and beyond those standards, and has been met with mixed reaction. "Banning birthday cupcakes punishes all children for the bad example set by some parents, and will lead to them binging when sweets are available," according to one parent. Others say that this does nothing to impact childhood obesity because changes have to start at home. Proponents say you have to start somewhere.

"Michigan's new standards give clearer direction to districts on choices of all food at school, not just in the lunchroom, by addressing vending machines, school stores, classroom parties, fundraisers and even the faculty lunchroom." The standards encourage schools to find other ways to reward success besides food. New standards were implemented across the state last year, but only in the cafeterias. The new guidelines take it a step further. School officials say some parents have had a harder time with the new programs and policies than the children.

Personally, I'd love to implement policies like this at my kid's school. I don't think you're ever too young to establish good eating habits and learn that food doesn't have to be part of every celebration or a reward for a job well-done.

What do you think?


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Comments

  • 248
    Moderation in all things should apply here as well. I understand the concerns from parents who want to control (sorry folks, that is the appropriate word) every bite that passes their child's lips, but at some point children will begin to enter the world where Mom and Dad cannot control everything.

    School is a learning experience; perhaps moderation would be a good lesson as well? Seems like a reasonable compromise would be to celebrate all the birthdays once a month (instead of having sugary treats every week) and in addition to a small cupcake, offer alternatives to kids who would prefer fruit or other "treat".

    Parents who are concerned can coach their children on choosing wisely and in moderation. And yes, many of the little darlings will still choose the cupcake - but kids surprise you all the time with their wisdom.

    - 11/19/2012   9:39:32 AM
  • 247
    "An all out ban isn't okay." It's not like these kids can't bring as much soda and sweet tarts with their lunch from home as they want. They can! Show me one kid that isn't getting enough refined sugar. Just one! I think many people don't realize just how much sugar their kids are getting at school. As someone recently out of the K12 programs, and about to re-enter as a teacher, I can tell you we EASILY had one serving of refined sugar at EVERY meal, whether it was a poptart or concentrated juice offered at breakfast, chocolate milk or all the ice cream and things offered at the student stores, candy and soda between classes at vending machines, and OUR PARENTS HAD NO IDEA. They gave us lunch money and we spent it on Hersheys and soda. ALL of us. The school lunches were all pizza, or sandwiches on white bread with processed cheese. When parents packed healthy food, we threw it out and bought bags of chips and giant bagels with double cream cheese. Kids who didn't eat garbage were teased. Really. We were young, so we could get away with abusing our bodies this way. Now it's catching up. - 12/10/2011   11:04:30 AM
  • 246
    Thumbs up from me! I got fed up with school "parties" just being a junk-food binge-fest, and being rewarded with candy or certificates to Pizza Hut or McDonald's. Now at college, the only way to ensure event attendance is to bribe people with food. It is so frustrating to have to explain why I decline the offerings. I learned at some point in junior high that this sort of reward/bribe system is so flawed. I applaud this MI school district for their actions. - 7/10/2011   6:36:04 PM
  • TRINASMOMMY05
    245
    My daugher's class doesn't allow snacks, their reasoning is school allergies. There are 2 children in her classroom with allergies, the one child has a fruit allergy. I am not against the no cupcake rules, I enjoyed them as a child, but my daughter has never had the experience and will not miss it. I may consider sending something else in for her birthday like pencils or erasors. - 2/8/2011   12:58:37 PM
  • 244
    I don't think it's a bad idea, actually. I know sweets are fine in moderation, but I can remember being in school and getting in to the habit of just devouring cakes, treats, cookies, etc because they were so readily available at school. In retrospect, I wish there would have been better nutrition education and policies to help prevent me from developing that unhealthy relationship with food (and my body). - 2/2/2011   8:18:41 AM
  • 243
    I'm a little torn on this issue as well. My husband and I eat as healthy as we can, making sure we incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and such in our diet as a family. In my daughter's pre-school class, however, the parent-of-the-day provided "snack" is usually Oreos or cheese doodles. I don't keep my daughter from having this kind of food, but I like to make sure she's had something healthy first and that she doesn't eat snacks like that all day. She's usually allowed something processed like that ONCE, and then for the rest of the day it's fruit/vegetable/etc. Most of the time she'll pick a fruit or her favorite squeezable yogurt first (Stonyfield organic makes a great, kid-friendly yogurt without all the additives). When it's my turn I try to bring in something that's a LITTLE better, like whole grain Cheese-Its or something similar. But it isn't my business to tell other people what to feed their kids, and if I continue to set good examples and form good habits in my daughter she'll be able to make these decisions in a way that will be healthy for her in the long run. I would never want to give up the fun of baking those birthday cupcakes with her and having her help me ice them and decorate them. It's what a birthday is for, a once a year treat. - 1/12/2011   10:26:30 AM
  • 242
    Does it really matter if a kid brings cupcakes for a party at school?.
    good grief parents of the world, let your kids live a little.
    people make it sound like kids have class in a room made of cupcakes and lollipops because they want to have a cookie or something for a birthday or other special event.

    if the schools want to offer only healthy options for lunches, I am all for that, but lets not regulate every aspect of our lives from cradle to grave.

    please - 1/11/2011   12:27:37 PM
  • CRROCKERGIRL
    241
    The school I work at has become a healthy school this school year. No sugar-y or junk food-y foods for treats for the kids. The families were given a list of healthy suggestions to bring for birthday treats, classroom parties, snack bucket, etc. but can bring things not on the list, too, as long as they're healthy.

    Part of me thinks this is fine. Another part of me thinks it's crazy not to allow kids to bring something like cupcakes for their birthdays. (I could see saying snack bucket items have to be healthy, though.) Overall, I don't really care either way. It's good for the kids to know that healthy items can be fun, too.

    But the thing that really gets me is that a policy was put into place for the staff, too. They aren't allowed to bring in anything non-healthy for staff potlucks, to leave as treats in the lounge for their co-workers, etc. THAT, I believe, is wrong. Adults can make their own decisions, and if they choose to eat a cookie or something similar- that's their choice. No one should be making it for them. Grownups should not be dictated to. - 1/10/2011   7:49:54 AM
  • 240
    My youngest grandson age 5 goes to a professional day care and for treats such as birthdays and holidays they ask that only healthy treats be sent with the child. - 12/20/2010   9:57:34 AM
  • SINCITYLULU1
    239
    I think it's ok they ban birthday treats, only, if only they ban the other junk they are serving the kids for school lunch and get rid of the vending machines as well. My kids school has banned sweet treats and vending machines, however they still continue to serve greasy pizza, tater tots and yucky burritos. Fortunately my kids don't eat school lunches. I think PE maybe fun depending on the child. My kids love PE but they only take 2x a week now due to focus on standardized testing. When I was a kid it was 5x a week for an hour - 12/19/2010   8:41:46 AM
  • 238
    Our school no longer allows treats for birthdays. Since I joined SP I am glad I don't have to deal with the birthday cupcakes and cookies that used to come in throughout the year. Unfortunately, the teacher's lounge still has the cakes, cookies, bars, etc. For the most part, thanks to SP, I have been able to avoid eating junk in the lounge. Recently I did have a slice of cake. I regret it now and plan to go back to my rules when the new year begins.

    For Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or Easter the candy abounds. I now plan healthy treats for the students. I did let them frost a cookie for Christmas this year but may do away with the practice because the librarian or recess monitor or gate monitor dressed as Santa all hand out candy canes or those highly processed chocolate cake Christmas trees. I think we have got to stop giving children sugar and fat filled treats. If the classroom teacher allowed one item that would be one thing but they get junk from every direction on school day before a holiday.
    I had no idea the recess monitor was handing out individually wrapped Christmas tree shaped chocolate cakes until a student threw up on the floor and on my pants as we were walking out at dismissal. I was thinking, "Why is that vomit chocolate colored?"
    I look at my students and I can see that they are getting larger every year. And I teach a young primary age. - 12/18/2010   4:23:05 PM
  • 237
    Way to go Alma! I think it's a great idea. More gym time less sweets... teach the children that play is a good reward or celebration rather than sweets! If mom and dad are worried little timmy or suzy aren't getting rewarded with sweets often enough they know where to find the cookie aisle! Why not help those kids who don't have parents who care about such things? What did they do to deserve neglect in the nutrition area? Nothing. As a community it should concern us all that children are being let down in this respect and if my kid not getting sweets helps some poor child with craptastic parents then by god, do it. I don't think she'd cry about getting extra time to run around having fun anyway. - 12/18/2010   12:53:17 PM
  • K_RENEE
    236
    I agree with what many people have said, and that's that moderation is what should be taught, not a total ban. If we start demonizing certain foods for children at a PRESCHOOL level, why I think that's setting them up for a lifetime of awkward and unhealthy relationships with food and nutrition. I also agree that I would not want my child filling up on cakes and treats every day at school, which is why I think the schools should just explain to the parents that these types of things cannot be an every day occurence. Furthermore, I think the schools should implement programs that restrict what types of treats can be brought in, such as a healthier version of the old fashioned cup cake. - 12/17/2010   11:37:30 AM
  • 235
    I think this is too controlling. Our school district has done something similar for years. Our son is in the 8th grade and since he has been in kindergarden the Raymore-Peculiar School district in Missouri has banned sugary treats on birthdays. You have to bring in something on the approved healthy snack list. They at least allow treats at 4 or 5 parties a year. Most of the obese kids are that way because of the way they are fed at home and many times it is due to lack of money to buy healthier foods. - 12/15/2010   9:58:25 PM
  • 234
    I think this goes too far, children do not deserve to have all their treats taken away! Goodness this is a freedom nightmare, muffins, cookies, they are treats yes that should be indulged every once in awhile. Banning them makes it out like every kid gets a huge amount, and that just isn't the case. Their parents should honestly help them eat well most of the time, and this wouldn't be an issue. - 12/14/2010   12:39:26 AM
  • 233
    All or nothing is not discipline. Moderation is. If your preparing healthy meals for your child at home, packing them healthy lunches, and keeping them active 25 or so cupcakes a year isn't going to make them overweight. If you're not doing those things, you've no place to tell other parents what they can or can't pass out for their kid's birthday. All of this banning and over reacting is just going to give kids complexes and eating disorders. My daughter eats clementines and apples year round, it's kind of lame as a birthday treat. Stop making everyone else on the planet responsible for your kid, and go outside and play with them. - 12/11/2010   11:50:33 AM
  • 232
    I'm torn on this. When my kids were younger and just starting to experience other parents bringing goodies for special occasions, I was fine with them getting to share in a fun sweet now and then. But as they have gotten older and involved in even more activities, it seems like there are sweets being offered nearly every day! And my kids are homeschooled, so there are no events like this at school for us! But, sweet treats and drinks are offered at baseball games, soccer games, ice skating competitions, gymnastics competitions, karate events, swimming lessons, friends' birthdays, the list goes on! It has really given them a taste for sweets and almost an expectation that they will get something sweet after each of these activities. I can see why busy parents just bring quick, easy, and unhealthy snacks, because it might seem to be the simplest option. But I can also see why some parents might want to ban sweets at special events. But for me, I will just continue to educate my kids on health, offer healthy meals and snacks, and try to guide them in the right direction, because I don't want other people (or the government) dictating to me what my kids will or will not do. It is my responsibility, ultimately, to ensure they are raised and educated appropriately, and that includes eating healthfully. And, I believe it is also my responsibility, when it is my turn to bring the "snack" to an event, to provide heathful and yummy snacks and maybe give other parents some ideas for how to help their children be more healthy. Sparkrecipes are full of great options! - 12/9/2010   8:40:43 PM
  • 231
    Yeah...just what we need to do .....give the government even MORE power over our lives...and even worse...our children's and grandchildren's lives. Education starts at home, people. Stop trying to make everyone else responsible! I agree with some of the comments on here...better nutrition classes and the school menu. But when the food police stick their nose into your life, where does it end?? Enough already...parents...take responsibility for your own! And I certainly don't agree with extra gym time. It was more of a punishment when I was growing up. We are not all geared to be little soldiers. I was humiliated more times than not in grade school gym, and it is something that I still carry with me...and I am now 53 years old! - 12/7/2010   9:02:22 AM
  • 230
    I don't see it as the proper forum. I did not add weight because of birthday parties, cupcakes, or cookies. Too much of anything is bad. Banning birthday celebrations is not the answer. - 12/6/2010   11:51:56 PM
  • LISAS11
    229
    I think its awesome! I know when I was a kid, there would be a birthday celebration once a week some months! Kids aren't going to miss getting cupcakes for someone else's birthday, and the birthday kid will probably get cake at home anyways. I know that I would be relieved as a parent when my child is getting 20 less cupcakes a year. Especially when I'm trying to implement healthy habits in our home. Additionally, I think the extra gym time is great. I don't know the specifics, but I don't imagine teachers making the kids do jumping jacks for an extra half hour. I would figure they would use the extra 30 minutes to play dodge ball, tag or other games. I mean, back then gym was FUN! - 12/6/2010   9:43:14 PM
  • 228
    While I completely understand your concern, I think that education about moderation and healthy choices should begin at home. If you are really concerned with how often your child is exposed to sugary treats in the classroom, why not contact the teacher and other parents and propose that everyone bring in *healthy* snacks for celebrations? - 12/6/2010   12:32:21 PM
  • 227
    If the federal government wants to help combat obesity in children, they should look at their lunch program first. My youngest is in middle school and he brought home a lunch schedule. The menu was awful! Full of carbs and fats, little fruit or vegetables, and meat was almost missing. Mac and Cheese, Cheese Pizza, Spaghetti were all menu items. That's OK once a week, but every day?

    Bake sales are not the problem. You can control the amount of snacks that your kids get. Bake sales are a rare event. We need to clean up the lunch program instead. That's my two cents worth. - 12/6/2010   7:32:52 AM
  • WEIANT2001
    226
    When I read actions like these taken by federal, state or local institutions it angers me. It goes away from the exact reason why this great nation was started in the first place. Freedom of Choice. Having the options set forth ahead of you and the freedom to make the choice of which direction or path you want to take. (Think Robert Frost). Another thing that angers me is that these institutions are taking the places of where parenting is continuing to lack in our society. Everyday in the news you hear about how some parent is upset because their childs poor grades were posted, or the school house allowed the students to bully their child, or how the school isn't providing the right food choices or limiting what choices they have. For instance, you ban cupcakes, alot of schools are removing soda machines. Stop forcing these institutions to do the parenting for the adults who wont do it in the household. (Families similar to what you see on Nanny911, though I am sure some are made up for drama purposes; i.e. ratings). Force parents to teach their children about moderation, making healthy choices. How about making a Nutrition class mandatory. How about forcing students to meet a fitness standard to pass Gym class. If youre child can not run a mile in under 10 min, has a waste size of 36+ (I know not everyone is built the same) and can not push themselves off the floor more than 10 times without breathing heavy; it may be a sign that a choice of a cupcake at school is not the problem.

    My favorite part of Trig class (Thank you Mr. Cavanaugh.) was that my instructor could make betty crocker cry for her goodies not being even close to the standard of deliciousness he could provide. He used it to promote things in his class. Not once after eating more than I needed to did I have to be concerned with my health. Running a 6 minute mile was a weekly occurance with wrestling, football and gym class. Grant it, a mandatory Nutrition class to teach me the things I know today would have given me a better head start to controlling my weight for wrestling. Maybe even offer a sports nutrition class.

    Either way, America, stop demanding everyone else do the parenting for you and take responsibility for the start of your childs future. I know I take both my boys future personally. - 12/6/2010   7:18:53 AM
  • 225
    couldn't agree with you more. my son is in preschool too and I go out of my way to send grapes or clementines (peeled and sliced mind you) on his snack day. When he tells me so and so brought cookies or poptarts to school for snack I want to scream! I tell my son, oh well I guess their mommy and daddy didn't read the school newsletter saying they prefer healthy snacks. That has gotten me in a bit of trouble now though. He told his teacher that mommy said this stuff is going to make him fat because it has lots of sugar in it. Oh geez...how embarassing! But you know what, I'm glad he knows it! I'm not going to go so far as to write a note telling the teacher that my kid can't participate in snack time if it's garbage food, but at the same time, I think these teachers need to step up to the plate and make a stand. I taught kindergarten for the past 3 years and we had snack. I clearly stated healthy snacks will only be accepted and passed out in class and gave examples. I also told parents if they didn't have time to get something that wasn't prepackaged junk they could send in some money and I would go to the store during my planning period. And ya know, my parents actually thanked me for caring about their child's well being! Funny how I also had the best behaved classes in the school, hmmm wonder if it was because they weren't eating oreos for 10am snack! - 12/6/2010   3:45:51 AM
  • 224
    as a future dietitian (clinician in nutrition), I agree that children have too much access to junk food, but they also have too much access to television and couches as well. I think cupcakes should be a sometimes food and things like bakesales (that happen only once/year) help reinforce that they are for a special occasion. I think labeling foods as "bad" from an early age is going to eventually do more harm than good and we will eventually see an increase in eating disorders (that may even be partially condoned in this new "fat phobic" atmosphere) as these children age. - 12/6/2010   1:51:05 AM
  • 223
    I disagree with a ban. Making something so commonly available "forbidden" leads to sneaking, excess, and bad choices. Making foods forbidden doesn't work. If it did, then a lot of us would not be on this website. (Prohibition didn't work, either!) - 12/5/2010   10:35:06 PM
  • 222
    Thanks for sharing - 12/5/2010   10:13:26 PM
  • ETHELMERZ
    221
    Wonder if the parents work at places where everyone's birthday is celebrated with potluck foods and junk brought from home every week, so it's become the "expected celebration" now, so they do the same for their kid's birthday, bring stuff to school?? It's our culture that needs fixing, look at holidays and celebrations nowadays that all seem to "need" alcoholic beverages in order to celebrate?? No one questions that, or the following drunk driving afterwards by still too many so called adults. When I was young, we didn't have many celebrations at school, mainly Christmas and Valentine's Day, actually. Not even Halloween or Easter/Spring got a party. Our current culture always talks of "Party" "Party" "Party", every weekend should have them, and so on. Too much! - 12/5/2010   9:05:19 PM
  • DROPPINDAWN
    220
    I am a teacher, and I do not see this as a huge problem in our schools. I agree that the vending machines and lunch choices should be healthy, along with no access to soda machines. Send your child with healthy choices, and many will be sure to follow. Kids appreciate any kind of snack, but limiting what parents can bring is just another added inconvenience for them. - 12/5/2010   4:37:44 PM
  • 219
    Adding PE time is BAD! I get the allergy reason though. How about a compromise and celebrate the whole month of birthdays on the same day. You can either bring one treat for each child and sing for all of them, or each child can bring something to put out and the kids can pick what ever they want. This way they will pig out only once a month. I never quite understood the birthday person bringing for themselves though. It seams like one set of cupcakes/cake would be enough for all.

    I once worked in a bakery, and a man from a different country would come and buy creampuffs and pastries all the time. One day he said that was all he ate and I told him it was not good for him to eat that way. He thought, if it was not good for him it would not be allowed to be sold. This is a free country we are free to sell food that is not good for you so we need to educate our children to choose these foods only sometimes. - 12/5/2010   11:54:34 AM
  • 218
    I like Blue sparkles remarks as to why a ban on junk food is a good idea. 15 C. Odette used good sense as well. Some of us remember a time when treats were wholesome, as 15C. Odette remarked, without added high fructose corn syrup added to EVERYTHING. I gave out glow stick bracelets for Trick or Treat. 15 bracelets for a buck at Target. Cheaper than candy, different and the children loved them! - 12/4/2010   6:43:09 PM
  • 217
    I think that when the schools have bake sales, cupcakes, cookies, etc. should be allowed. However, they do need to knock off the horribly unhealthy food that is served daily in the cafeterias like the french fries, pizza, etc. Children will NOT make healthy choices when presented with those foods...they're kids for crying out loud! - 12/4/2010   2:12:24 PM
  • AFARINA
    216
    Bad idea in my opinion. Kids can handle the sugar as long as it is in moderation. If a family is feeding their kids crap all the time then there is a problem but it's not like the schools are giving kids cupcakes everyday. - 12/4/2010   2:02:42 PM
  • BLUESPARKLES
    215
    I have to agree with those who say the "reward" of longer gym class would be more of a PUNISHMENT!! Yes, the idea of helping our children be more fit is a good one, but most school gym classes are torture, not fun!!

    As for the ban on birthday snacks, while I realize it seems strange to those of us who grew up with the birthday cupcakes as standard practice, there are many reasons that schools have banned outside food. Several of my kids' schools implemented this way back about 15 years ago. It isn't because they are policing sweets, sugar, or unhealthy eating just to try to tell you how your child should eat, it has to do with the many many children who have food allergies or sensitivities to peanut butter, sugar, wheat, chocolate......the list goes on and on. Also, there are issues with whether or not food was prepared properly to avoid issues such as food poisoning. And, sometimes there are religious reasons why some children can't eat certain foods, etc.

    If the kids aren't used to this they won't miss it, and you can celebrate however you'd like at home (and there's no reason you can't send a special treat in your child's lunch just for him). :) - 12/4/2010   1:57:29 PM
  • BELLABLUE415
    214
    If a kid is overweight already, it had nothing to do with that one cupcake. Let the parents deal with it at home. - 12/3/2010   11:04:47 PM
  • 213
    I agree, you're never too young to learn healthy eating habits. I'm not sure I'd go as far as a ban, just because I do not believe that the government should regulate everything. Instead of banning cupcakes for birthday celebrations the school should adopt celebrating birthdays once a month for all the children who have birthdays that month. That way the issue of too much sweets is managed. As for using food as a reward, I don't think that should be totally eliminated but healthy guidelines should be established for foods brought in for the purpose of celebrating. This would give the parents, students and teachers an excellent opportunity to reinforce healthy eating choices and also provide actual examples of GOOD tasting healthy choices, because so many people still equate healthy with bad tasting and celebrating with unhealthy food choices and overindulgence. - 12/3/2010   9:30:42 PM
  • 212
    The problem is not the birthday treat. Our school system has the same ban; however, at every lunch there are snacks offered for purchase at the end of every lunch. For $0.60, children can select from a wide range of empty calories. Most children pass on their lunch, holding out for this snack. - 12/3/2010   9:04:28 PM
  • 211
    I think it's important to teach children about healthy eating at a young age. At my daughter's preschool there are strict guidelines on what we can bring when our child is snack bear. It is a sugar free zone so we are not allowed to send any snacks with sugar in them. I fully support this since I wouldn't want my daughter eating any differently than she does at home. The school board here also did a complete overhaul in terms of nutrition. Cupcakes and baked treats are not allowed anymore.The vending machines now only have items that have been approved by the Ministry of Health and gone are the days when the school offered hot dog and hamburger days once a month. When there is a lunch available to be purchased it is a Subway sandwich from the low fat menu.I'm totally supportive and think all schools should follow this example. - 12/3/2010   5:33:55 PM
  • 210
    It smells like hypocrisy. Unless the school has banned vending machines from the school and the school provided meals are scratch made of wholesome ingredients, the ban is just smoke and mirrors. How many kids are in a class? My kid's classes have been less than 25, which is not significant in a 188 day year. That being said, I am also the parent who sends a box of clementines or a bag of apples to holiday parties. - 12/3/2010   4:24:33 PM
  • CHARTER3
    209
    Nutrition should begin at home. Habits begin young and should be nurtured from home. School districts should be able to focus on education. Government doesn't need to be in another facet of our lives. Soon it will be doing everything for us, if we let it. Moderation is the key. I watch kids throw away their school lunches daily. They also throw away lunches packed by a caregiver. There is also a lot of "trading" in the lunchroom. They will find a way to get what they want to eat. - 12/3/2010   2:13:15 PM
  • 208
    extra gym class can be lots of fun and for most kids, it's a great gift. I serve at a middle school with 5th and 6th grade students. Most of them are grossly overweight, talk of playing video games for hours or watching television. What happened to playing outside, bowling, skating or riding a bike. Ban the cupcakes and the cookies and the candy. Kids don't need it. There are plenty of yummy healthy treats they could eat instead. - 12/3/2010   12:29:23 PM
  • 207
    longer PE? how horrible! Let's punish them for having a birthday, that's a great idea! I wouldn't even have liked longer recess- I spent as much of recess as I could in the library, reading. Not every kid is the same- at least bringing cookies is something just about every kid can enjoy. - 12/3/2010   11:46:33 AM
  • 206
    Oh, what a nice thing to offer me for my birthday -- another 30 minutes of organized torture by the gym teacher and my classmates!

    People need to realize that PE class is not fun for most kids--when you're awkward and uncoordinated (as I was and still am), dodgeball isn't a game. It's actually more like being publicly stoned: people throwing things at you that you can't avoid and the gym teacher just yelling at you to run faster. Great way to exercise, huh?

    If my school had done something that dumb (the gym time as reward, not talking about the cupcake thing -- never had that in my school), I'd have started staying home on my birthday, I can tell you.

    Now, letting me read any book I wanted during "reading circle" time--that's a gift I would have happily accepted! Or, heck, hand me a jumprope and let me have a longer recess. Something a kid could look forward to, at least. - 12/3/2010   9:15:42 AM
  • 205
    LOL! We have got to take responsibility for our children. School cant raise kids or instill healthy eating habits. Kids only eat lunch there if their parents choose for them too. Pack their lunch with good food. Cupcakes are here to stay. An occasional treat for birthday is fine. Extra play time sounds like a good idea. Most schools dont even provide PE 5x a week anymore. We have got to be responsible for our own children, not schools and not the government! Come on people step up! - 12/3/2010   8:22:08 AM
  • 1CATH74
    204
    As a preschool teacher in a district that bans cupcakes, I too thought it would be the end of the world, but guess what....it's not. While I'm sure it took a little getting used to for the older kids that were used to getting 20 to 25 cupcakes a year (yes, pretty much every child used to bring cupcakes for their birthday) the little kids did not know that this was a change. In order to still make birthdays fun, we started allowing the birthday child to pick one of our centers for the day and gave their parents the option to come in and run it. We have had parents come up with some really great "birthday centers" and trust me, a preschooler having their mom or dad come spend an hour at school with them means much more to them then a cupcake. While the kids probably thought nothing of it, I still missed the blowing out of the birthday candle so we started making them a birthday crown and having them blow "birthday bubbles" at their friends. The kids were more excited by this then they ever were by the candle and often talk about how they can't wait for their birthday so they get to do the birthday bubbles. I'm sure at home they are still getting birthday cake and many of these children will have parties where cake or cupcakes will be served. A cupcake ban at school does not mean a child will never eat another cupcake in their life, but it does give the parents slightly more control of how many they will consume. - 12/3/2010   8:22:08 AM
  • 203
    When my sons were young we were asked to bring healthy snacks-which I totally agree
    with-but banning Birthday cupcakes? No! That takes a basically good idea & throws it
    overboard.Give them some extra gym time too-but make it free play time to do what
    they want. A cupcake now & then isn't going to hurt-it's overindulging-let's not get too
    freaky about this! - 12/3/2010   6:14:08 AM
  • 202
    Glad my birthday would fall in the summer vacation time because if someone came to me and said, "It's your birthday... you get to do an extra 30 minutes of jumping jacks today or push-ups", I'd probably barf in their shoes. That is punishment, not a reward. When did the school system become the parent for all these children? Is it not the parents responsibility to decide the diet of the child? The school should teach nutrition and healthy choices but it is not the school's responsibility to decide the dietary regime of the child outside of the "regular diet". Seems to me that the school system is spending too much time on determining the no concentrated sweets diet of the children instead of doing what they should be doing- teaching the basics of reading, writing, and arithmatic. Maybe that is why Johnny can no longer read by the time he gets to high school. - 12/3/2010   12:03:34 AM
  • JHCAMSMOM
    201
    After reading this, I wonder how many of the people posting have children... I brought a healthy breakfast for my daughter's b-day last year. I am in charge of her food-- not the school -- not the government! I was not allowed sugar as a child, I think that is how I ended up overweight as an adult. I was not taught healthy habits just NO - 12/2/2010   11:17:29 PM
  • 200
    My reaction was "oh my god how horrible!" When I was in elementary school I hated gym and the idea of an extra 30 minutes of it would seem like a cruel joke on my birthday. I don't remember there being a lot of cupcakes at my school either. I certainly never got to bring any of those in. I think it is important to teach children about healthy choices and make things fun, but a ban on cupcakes won't do that. - 12/2/2010   11:06:27 PM
  • 199
    Why is it that more and more of our institutions are being asked to take on the responsibility that belongs to parents? I have a hard time believing that one cupcake, even if it was six times a month, is going to doom a child to lifelong weight struggles. As many others have said, we should be teaching them to exercise that off anyway. I know I wish I was taught those lessons at a younger age.

    In my experience, it is often the kids who are completely sheltered from certain things that go completely overboard later in life. I've seen it time and again with alcohol, in particular. If we want kids to learn how to exercise self control when exposed to fatty foods in social situations, I would argue that practice makes perfect.

    Regulating sweets out of classrooms is an "easy way out" patch job for an issue that is going to take a lot more effort than that to solve. - 12/2/2010   5:05:35 PM

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