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Treats in School: How Much is Too Much?


Last week, I took a day off to come in and decorate Christmas cookies with my daughter’s kindergarten class. I schlepped in homemade rollout cookies, four colors of frosting and sprinkles galore! The kids, literally and figuratively, ate it up. Best of all, my daughter loved having me in the class and being my special helper, which was the whole point.

Fast-forward to this week, and I start receiving e-mails from the PTA Wellness Committee, since my husband is on it (in theory). The e-mails start flying as parents complain about too many sweets in school, and specifically mention the two cookie events in one week in K (after I’d asked to come in, the teacher also announced a cookie exchange for a week later).  Parents of kids with dietary restriction are over trying to figure out alternatives. Parents trying to teach their kids to eat healthy are sick of the mixed messages presented by 20+ birthdays a year plus holiday parties. Parents who feed their kids only local organic food are concerned about non-homemade goodies. One defiant dad staunchly defended his kid’s right to have a freakin’ cupcake.

I feel terrible. I just wanted to be an engaged parent, despite the fact that, as a mom who works full time out of the time, I can’t be there as much as I’d like. I chose cookies because that’s what I know how to do. But I get it, I really do—and I especially feel for the moms of kids with food allergies. And the truth is, you don’t need frosting and sprinkles to have a good time with 5-year-olds. A simple craft project probably would have been a better idea.

But a small part of me thinks it’s Christmas—and isn’t part of Christmas eating a few too many cookies?

What do you think? Are there too many sweets in school, or do you think parents looking to eliminate them should lighten up?