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Fast Food and Kids 2010-06-17 09:00:55

Mommy Dearest: Fast Food Playdate Dilemma

Mommy Dearest –

Yesterday, while toiling away at work, I received a phone call from my son's nanny. It seems the friend he was playing with had been promised a lunch at McDonald's and had invited my kindergartner along. I try to avoid fast food restaurants at all costs, so our nanny called to ask if it was OK to go for lunch with the friend. In the background I could already hear my son discussing the cartoon characters he saw on the restaurant's windows and rather than subject his caretaker to a meltdown, I acquiesced.

I am not some food-crazed mom (I give my children plenty of chicken fingers at home, albeit not fried), but I really don't like my children eating all of that fried food and thinking that food comes with toys. Would it be inappropriate for me to ask his playmate's mom to not promise such "treats" on days our kids play together?

– McDonaldless Mommy

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,

.

Dear McDonaldless Mommy –

You are certainly entitled to your thoughts on fast food, and you are welcome to voice them to anyone you wish, but you may want to think twice before imparting them on your fellow moms. Each mom is entitled to her own opinion and you wouldn't want to cause a rift in your lil one's friendship over such a small thing. Perhaps you could consider limiting their playdates to non-meal times or suggest having everyone over to your home where you can have more say over the meal they eat. In the meantime, I would chalk this up to a rare "treat" and let your son know that it won't be an every day occurrence.

– Mommy Dearest

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amandachalynn amandachalynn 6 years
How does getting a happy meal make your child think that food always comes with a toy? Do you give him toys every time he eats at home? I don't think you do, so odds are he associated the toy with the special fun time he was having, not with the food its self. As long as your kid gets healthy meals at home, I don't see the problem with a happy meal.
bisou002 bisou002 6 years
Everything in moderation. I grew up having a happy meal every so often and I turned out just fine - I never eat fast food now and would much prefer veggies. But I have two younger cousins whose mother forbid them from having any cookies/candy/junk and they'd come visit and gorge themselves.
Kelly-O Kelly-O 6 years
And you also have no way of knowing whether this was an out-of-the-ordinary treat for the child your child was playing with - maybe his mom thought it would be a nice way to make the day a little special for the kids. The good thing is that many fast-food restaurants (especially those with the big, shiny playgrounds that are usually what kids are most interested in) have options. You can get your chicken fingers or sandwich with milk and fruit as sides instead of cokes and fries. It might be a good way to help reinforce the concept of making good choices, even when you're doing something a little out of your normal routine.
stephley stephley 6 years
In friendly conversation you could bring up your fast food concerns and how hard you try to keep them away from your child - and you could suggest other play date treats. You also could figure out which places have healthy-ish treats that you could live with and let your child know to choose from them. You don't want other moms to think it's too much trouble to include your child.
Moms Moms 6 years
I'm not a fan of fast food and hardly let my kids have it, but playdates are supposed to be fun so I let my children live a little. The same goes for when they are at other people's houses — they can have whatever they are offered. I think banning anything just makes kids want it more.
skigurl skigurl 6 years
I would say wait and see if it happens again. It's unlikely that this mom will do it time and time again - but if she does, then maybe say something. But if it's just a one time thing, get over it.
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