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Playground Patrol: Make Kids Run Laps For a Movie Treat?

There's some interesting stuff that happens in the sandbox. The other day while at the playground with my kids, I heard a mother tell her children (ages 6 - 10) to get off the swings and run laps or they would be late for the movie they were set to see. As they ran, she told them to go faster or they wouldn't get a treat at the theater.

The tall and lanky youngsters, who looked none too thrilled to have to exercise for popcorn, finished their workout and exited. Parents worry about their kids staying physically fit, but is forcing your children to burn calories in order to consume an unhealthy snack a lil extreme — especially if you aren't kicking your heels up beside them? What's your opinion?


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atlasburped atlasburped 8 years
what is she the "treat nazi"? her lazy arse should get up and run with them. that's just wrong esp if they're CHILDREN! one thing i learned from watching kids interact with their parents is that the parents REALLY need to set the example. don't just make them do it...interact with them or get an activity going where it appeals to the kids.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i don't know, this is just a glimpse into the things people say to their kids. this week we were in the ER with my middle daughter and a nurse was asking her questions; do you play soccer, do you take dance lessons, etc. after a few answers of "no", he said "do you do ANYTHING but sit on the couch and watch TV???" that's a lot to assume from a couple of questions.
nevadamtnbear nevadamtnbear 8 years
On its face, the story doesn't sit right with me. But, I'd be curious to know the "rest of the story." As a general rule - forcing "exercise" seems a bit much, particularly at those ages. Building activity and an interest in exercise into their day to day life seems more appropriate. Not that we're model examples, but with our son, he's "active" and he does his "exercises" not because we've instructed him to do so, but by example. Daddy's a runner and our son loves to to run. He loves to do his stretches and he does other calisthenictype exercises, which I only with I had the strength to duplicate. All this we encourage just along with encouraging him to play outside rather than inside, to ride his bike, etc. We're fortunate, thus far, he doesn't have a weight problem (which he shouldn't given his age, activity level and diet), but even if he did have a weight problem, I still think building in activity by making it fun and setting restrictions and limitation on food consumption is a better lesson to teach a young child than forcing them to endure something they don't enjoy for a "reward." And another disjointed and random thought about this - if the point of the mom was to get the kids to burn calories to enjoy a treat - why not just set limits on the foods they eat. It never ceases to amaze me how many parents have such a hard time using the word "no." From my personal experience (and like I said, we're no role models) we set limits. My son's allowed to "indulge" but it's limited. I'd rather say, "no" to a whole bag of M&M's or bag of popcorn, etc., and be able to say yes to a handful of M&M's shared with mommy and daddy or a small bag of popcorn shared with others. He'll ask for 3 pieces of candy or cookies or whatever, and he knows the response will be no, you can have one cookie or piece of candy or what not, and that's accepted. We do this not only because we don't want him eating too much of things that are not good for you (all things in moderation) but because the sugar will send him into a sugar induced wild child mode (that study out of England - carp, pure carp!) :lol: I guess they just seem too young for forced exercise.
Baluk Baluk 8 years
Lickety you may be right but she could have done that by joining them in a game of tag or playing a bit of soccer with them, instead of coercing them with a prize and a treat. I just read a really good parenting book, 'Unconditional Parenting' by Alfie Kohn and it describes the reasons why rewarding children and punishing them in these ways are detrimental to their self esteem. I've been really trying to put what he says into practice...much harder then reading the book itself!
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
maybe she was thinking they wouldn't sit still in the theater if they didn't run off some energy.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
Yeah that's not right, she should be teaching them to enjoy exercise not forcing it. And if they are at the park didn't they do enough running around there anyways?
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