I’ve written about my personal policy on allowing my toddler to eat treats from time to time. I strive to avoid added sugars in her everyday foods, but I believe treats are a normal part of life and when occasions arise for her to enjoy them, I don’t act as if they are any different from any other food.
However, I’ve recently noticed that other adults often handle my daughter’s treats differently. While I’ve rarely seen other adult members of my family ask her to share a bite of her peas, beets or even pizza, somehow the second she gets a treat in her hands, they want my toddler to practice her sharing skills and give them a bite.Should kids learn to share their treats? The Baby Steps Dietitian's answer may surprise you! Click To Tweet
It took me a while to figure out why this bothered me so much. After all, I certainly want my daughter to learn the important skill of sharing! Ultimately, I think it’s the bait and switch element and the anxiety that might cause her. When my daughter is offered most other foods, she’s presented with an entire serving and, per Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility, she’s in charge of deciding how much of the serving she’s been offered she wants to eat.
Now, no one really knows what a two-year-old is thinking. But thinking back to my own childhood, whenever I got a treat I was pretty darn excited that the whole thing was mine! (Growing up with three siblings, this was a pretty big deal.) So perhaps I’m projecting here, but I don’t like the idea of my daughter receiving a treat such as this mini cheesecake on a stick (yum!) she got recently on the 4th of July, and then moments after getting it into her hands, being asked to give some of it away.
It’s not that I don’t think sharing is important. Of course it is! I’m just really trying to avoid treating desserts any differently than any other food. As Ellyn Satter puts it, the goal is for children to feel relaxed about all types of foods. I certainly wouldn’t feel relaxed if a swarm of people came hounding after my desserts every time I sat down to enjoy one, would you? I’d probably start getting over protective of them, eating them super fast or I’d try to eat them in secret, which certainly aren’t healthy behaviors.
So, adults, if my child’s dessert really looks that good to you, you’re welcome to go get your own serving, being that you’re an adult and all! She’ll have plenty of other opportunities to practice her sharing skills.