28 April 2008

"Colorful" milk rewards kids for pre-mealtime cleanup

Mari's colorful solution for getting the kids to the table:

My daughter's preschool teacher came up with a fun way to encourage the children to clean up promptly for lunch. It made such an impression on our 3-year-old that we have started incorporating it into our dinner routine: If the children clean up their playthings before dinner, we put a drop of food coloring into their milk as a fun reward.

Our daughter loves the cheery treat, and now we're even able to show her how to mix colors. If your family doesn't drink milk, the same technique could be used for water. This is certainly a reasonable and immediate reward, and it gives both our kids a choice by allowing them to select the color.

In our house, our 3rd grader is the one to create the colorful milk, and he enjoys it just as much as his sister. Most welcome is the sense of order it fosters during a hectic time of day!

I love those positive rewards systems...anything to focus attention on what we want kids to DO.

Related: Tricks for keeping toddlers hydrated

Your comments

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My mom used to do this occasionally -- I loved pink milk!

that's pretty nifty. i'll have to check it out for my son.

We use colored milk another way -- our daughter always wanted juice, and when we'd ask, "What do you want to drink" she would say, "Juice." At that point it was fight or give her juice.

We changed it up a year ago (she was 2.5) around Easter and started asking, "What color milk do you want?" and suddenly instead of picking what to drink she was picking the color.

It worked long enough that having juice any time but the morning went away, but now we give her colored milk or water at lunch and dinner all the time!

I think it would also be ok to do this with chocolate milk occasionally. Probably not every day, just maybe on Fridays or something.

In don't know. I hate to be the wierd pessimist, but I am really picky about the food I bring into my home- and one of the things I am particular about are foods with added dyes. It might sound strange to some, but even food safe food coloring is still dye made with things that may not be healthy for a growing body.

Are you kidding? I love this site but sometimes I can't believe what is given for advice or tips.
Think about what you are doing by deliberately adding chemicals to your kids! Food coloring causes many types of cancer. Especially in little bodies. I won't even go into why I would never encourage my kids to drink another mammals milk in the first place. Read for yourself at www.notmilk.com

Are you kidding? I love this site but sometimes I can't believe what is given for advice or tips.
Think about what you are doing by deliberately adding chemicals to your kids! Food coloring causes many types of cancer. Especially in little bodies. I won't even go into why I would never encourage my kids to drink another mammals milk in the first place. Read for yourself at www.notmilk.com

It is hard to describe my revulsion to the idea of putting man-made dyes in milk, much less as an incentive for kids to clean up their messes. The following facts and story may help explain my reaction.

Fake dyes, as opposed those created from plants, are primarily made from three sources: derivatives of petroleum, derivatives of coal tar, and Cochineal Beetles (cockroaches). These beetles are raised in the Canary Islands or Peru, dried and ground up to make red, pink or purple dyes. All three sources are related to a long list of nervous disorders resulting minor and major health consequences. Some kids have a greater sensitivity to them than others but collectively, the repeated consumption of man-made dyes may put the health of your son or daughter in jeopardy.

TRUE STORY
One five year old boy I know began to experience some disruptive physical conditions once he began eating baby food. Since then he had to wear lots of band-ades all the time to cover the bleeding splits opening in his skin. Also, a short run made him gasp for air. Normal running and jumping was out of the question. His mom took him to many specialists looking for solutions. It was determined that he did have some allergies including to cochroaches. Years were spent making sure he was not exposed to any these - their house was kept spotless. In addition, his mom was very careful to feed him healthy foods. Still, no change. More doctors with more ideas and huge bills did not improve his condition. Then one day his mom remembered reading that red, pink and purples dyes come from cochineal beetles - COCKROACHES. The BIG A HA hit and she cleared her kitchen of any of the few food products she used as treats - the ones with red, pink and purple dyes. It only took three weeks for this boy's skin to clear up for good and he has been running an jumping ever since. I did laugh out loud when this mom told me that when she returned to his specialist with her son, she said, "Why didn't you tell me that my son was eating cockroaches?" His answer, "I didn't know." Now you know.


It is hard to describe my revulsion to the idea of putting man-made dyes in milk, much less as an incentive for kids to clean up their messes. The following facts and story may help explain my reaction.

Fake dyes, as opposed those created from plants, are primarily made from three sources: derivatives of petroleum, derivatives of coal tar, and Cochineal Beetles (cockroaches). These beetles are raised in the Canary Islands or Peru, dried and ground up to make red, pink or purple dyes. All three sources are related to a long list of nervous disorders resulting minor and major health consequences. Some kids have a greater sensitivity to them than others but collectively, the repeated consumption of man-made dyes may put the health of your son or daughter in jeopardy.

TRUE STORY
One five year old boy I know began to experience some disruptive physical conditions once he began eating baby food. Since then he had to wear lots of band-ades all the time to cover the bleeding splits opening in his skin. Also, a short run made him gasp for air. Normal running and jumping was out of the question. His mom took him to many specialists looking for solutions. It was determined that he did have some allergies including to cochroaches. Years were spent making sure he was not exposed to any these - their house was kept spotless. In addition, his mom was very careful to feed him healthy foods. Still, no change. More doctors with more ideas and huge bills did not improve his condition. Then one day his mom remembered reading that red, pink and purples dyes come from cochineal beetles - COCKROACHES. The BIG A HA hit and she cleared her kitchen of any of the few food products she used as treats - the ones with red, pink and purple dyes. It only took three weeks for this boy's skin to clear up for good and he has been running an jumping ever since. I did laugh out loud when this mom told me that when she returned to his specialist with her son, she said, "Why didn't you tell me that my son was eating cockroaches?" His answer, "I didn't know." Now you know.


Cochineal beetles are not cockroaches, nor are they related to cockroaches, although they can be a serious allergen.

People have covered the artificial food coloring issue pretty well, which is bad enough. But also think about the implications of using food as a reward. :-/

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