4 Reasons Kids Don't Need Cake

Photo Credit:   Theresa Thompson   via   Compfight     cc

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson via Compfight cc

A school district in Boone County, Kentucky recently received a great deal of media attention. There were no new test scores or viral videos or even school violence. No, the school board got a lot of attention for a new rule.

While revising the district’s wellness policy, the Boone County school district decided to ban food from birthday celebrations.

That’s right. No more cupcakes. No more ice cream. No more frosting or sprinkles or icing.

And, let me tell you, people are in an UPROAR.

Here’s delightful sampling of some of the opinions our local NBC station’s Facebook page:

The opposition seems to have a couple common complaints.

“Let kids be kids!”

I’m not even sure what this means. Childhood is not synonymous with sugar. Happiness and fun and memories are often linked to food but they don’t require it.

I promise you my sons’ memories of Disney World will not revolve around the meals but rather the experiences. Sure, the Dole Whips were delicious but the fun we had riding rides, seeing shows, and laughing together far outweighed any temporary sugar rush.

Birthdays – at EVERY age – can be celebrated without sugar. In fact, I’ve written before about my concerns that too often we use sugar to celebrate whether it be an important milestone or good behavior. I don’t want to teach my kids that the only way to mark a happy occasion is with a sweet treat.

Happiness doesn’t require sugar and a lack of sugar doesn’t mean unhappiness.

Kids are way more resilient and creative than we give them credit for, so the idea that a lack of sugar is some type of “punishment” sells them very, very short. If you’ve ever seen a child play with a cardboard box, you understand what I mean.

“It’s lack of exercise that’s the REAL problem.”

Is the lack of physical activity among today’s kids a problem? Absolutely.

However, we will not even BEGIN to tackle childhood obesity without also seriously altering our nation’s diet – especially the consumption of processed foods high in sugar.

The recommended daily sugar intake for children in preschool and early elementary school is 3 to 4 teaspoons. The average 4- to 8- year old consumes FIVE TIMES THAT AMOUNT IN A DAY.

I don’t care if your child is doing jumping jacks from dawn to dusk consuming that much sugar is a problem. It’s a problem that has to be addressed on every level - at every meal, snack, and – YES – special occasion.

“It didn’t kill me!”

This one is my favorite lines and I hear this often when I express any opinion that is a shift from the traditional knowledge on raising a child.

First of all, I’m aiming for a smidgen higher than merely keeping my kids alive.

I’d like them to not merely survive – but thrive! In almost every area of health, we are failing. We are one of the sickest, overly-medicated, fattest countries on the planets and our kids are expected to be worse off than us.

I know serious change is hard but serious change is what is required if we want to improve our children's future.

”This is all the government’s/Michele Obama’s fault”

The Constitution does not assure you or your children the fundamental right to sugar. I’m sorry. It just doesn’t.

When the federal government decides to use scientific evidence to change the dietary requirements of school lunches, they are WELL within their rights. When you participate in the public school system, you accept that you will not have total and complete control over every aspect of your child’s life when they are inside the walls of the school.

Believe me, I don’t always like that either but I also have to accept that deep, deep down I don’t always know what’s best for my child. I am not expert in elementary curriculum or early childhood education or how the hell you feed 50 5-year-olds in 20 minutes.

And you know what? I don’t want to be.

So, I say "Go for it, Boone County!" Your new rule is a step in the right direction and I hope other school districts follow your lead!

P.S. Why I hate public playgrounds.

What do you think? Should birthday cake be sacred?

Check out our discussion on Facebook.