Oh to be one of Heidi Klum's kids! The supermodel mama has let slip that she pays her kids to eat healthy. Literally. They get $1 each time they drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
The Project Runway judge is getting the inevitable flack that comes from admitting you're a mother and you're human, but I say go mom! Parents have been bribing kids to eat their veggies for as long as anyone can remember.
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Says Klum of her healthy eats for cash plan:
Some of my kids don’t love it so I decided I would pay them a dollar if they finish their drink. All of the money goes into their piggy banks, they have collected a bunch of money since January 1. What’s good for them is good for me as well.
Granted, we're not always so blatant about it. We don't tell the kids, "Hey, drink this, and I'll give you $1." But then, most of us don't have Heidi Klum's bankroll.
We work with what we do have, say, a kid who really wants dessert.
Is saying, "If you want that brownie, you're going to have to eat your broccoli" really any different from saying, "I'll give you $1 for that healthy drink"? They're both rewards of a sort. They're both meant to link something positive to behavior you're encouraging.
So what's the problem?
As a mom who is a vegetarian today, but was simply labeled a picky eater as a kid because I didn't want to eat meat, I get where Klum is coming from. Some kids are picky (heck, plenty of adults are picky ... when is the last time you picked the tomatoes or the pickles off a burger?!).
You have to pick your battles as a mom. Do you want to go to war over food, possibly creating an eating disorder in the process, and definitely making meal-time unpleasant? Or do you present kids with a little incentive that paves the way to getting what you want?
It's not just about getting nutrients in their bellies. Sometimes that first pay-off is all it takes to just get a picky eater to TRY a food.
I couldn't begin to tell you the number of times my daughter has refused to eat something, only to find out she loves it once she's actually taken a bite (tacos, my mac and cheese with breadcrumb topping, spinach on pizza ...). No incentive would have meant no attempt. No attempt would have meant she'd never know how much she really loves to eat these foods.
A few "bribes" have opened up a world of foods that she will enjoy for a lifetime.
Is Klum perfectly parenting here? Nope. But you find a perfect parent, and I'll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.
Would you bribe your kids to eat something healthy?
Image via La Grande Farmers Market/Flickr