Snack tokens

Making sweet tokens stick

Snack Tokens blog post

Our Sweet Token experiment was working wonderfully—for about 3 hours.

“I want another cookie.”

“Do you have a sweet token?”

“No, I already used them both.”

“So what’s the answer?”

“But I want a cookie!”

Liping chimes in. “Kubla, have some chips.”

I’m not sure if this is a step towards healthy eating, but he accepts the distraction. Over the next three days he sticks to the two sweets per day limit—a couple small cookies or a square of chocolate—and eats more salty snacks than ever.

I take out the cardboard box, crayons, and scissors again. This time I cut chip-sized triangles. We decorate them with the crayons. I write “Good for 1 snack” on the front and back of each.

I hand them to him.

“Kubla, what does it say on this snack token?”

“Good for 1 snack!”

“What am I going to do the next time you hand me a snack token?”

“Give me a snack!”

“That’s right. Anytime except before breakfast. What happens after you use them?”

“When they’re gone, they’re gone.”

“What happens tomorrow?”

“I get more snack tokens!”

From that day on, Kubla’s sweet and snack habit was curbed. He has the power to choose what junk food to eat and when. Plenty of days he goes to bed with unused sweet and snack tokens sitting on the table. Food is once again a source of pleasure, not conflict.

What are limits you place on your kids? Do you do anything special to make the limits stick?

In two weeks I’ll give a free Kidorable Umbrella to whoever makes my favorite comment.

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