My youngest daughter's 7th birthday is today and besides the fact that I'm astounded at the fact that my "baby" is almost a second-grader, it got me thinking about our school's treat policy.
I'm happy to say that our current elementary school does not allow treats of any kind for birthdays or holidays. Non-edible or edible, they're not allowed, period.
This was a hard-won policy. According to other mothers I know whose kids have food allergies, there was a lot of bickering about treats not being allowed. The kids with food allergies were blamed, apparently. (We were not yet part of this school when the policy first went into place.)
However, food allergies were only part of the reason for banning treats. Many other factors went into the decision and I heartily applaud our current school principal for standing up to the cupcakers on this one.
There are so many reasons why a school may choose to avoid exchanging treats and here are some of them:
1) Too many sweets equals overweight kids with bad teeth. The school is trying to teach good health practices.
2) Dietary restrictions are becoming more common, not just due to food allergies but due to juvenile diabetes.
3) Sugar high = classroom mayhem.
4) Respect for socioeconomic differences - not everyone can afford a treat for the class.
5) The kids already have their birthdays celebrated at school in many ways. They get an announcement over the loudspeaker, they get a free book from the PTO and the whole class sings happy birthday. Enough already!
6) Passing out treats eats up valuable class learning time.
7) We're at a public school and not everyone is celebrating the same holidays.
Besides being thrilled that my allergic daughter is not constantly being given possibly unsafe treats during the school day, I've gotta just say: it takes the pressure off when you aren't expected to whip up a little personalized goody bag for the whole class. I love my kids as much as the next person but when I'm already planning extracurricular celebrations for them, I really don't want to be bested by somebody with a label-maker and a flair for crafts.
Have you guys ever seen that accusing look from your kids when they come home with a really spectacular goody bag? I'll bake from scratch for my kids all day long but I'm just not a creative goody bag kinda gal.
Now, many of you out there still deal with classroom treats all year (and our family did as well, at a previous school) and there are ways to combat it, many of which I've discussed on this blog. Having a well-stocked supply of safe treats and suggesting non-edibles are two good strategies but treats-free is still a good solution.
What is your school policy and how do you deal with it? I know this is a hot-button issue, so let us know what's going on where you live.