Friday, May 7, 2010

When it's okay to let your kid eat ice cream for breakfast

A couple months ago, I read about a study which found a good a way to predict whether a three-year old was going to succeed in college. The researcher would put a child in an room and give him or her a cookie. Before leaving, he would tell the child that he was going to come back in a couple minutes. If the child hadn't eaten the cookie, he/she could have it then, and would be given one more. He left the room and watched via a hidden camera. Some ate the cookie right away, naturally. But some did not. And he saw all sorts of methods used to delay eating, from ignoring it to talking to it like it was a pet. The upshot: regardless how they did it, the kids who managed to wait for his return, who were able to delay gratification, were more likely to get college degrees later in life. Which brings me to this morning, and Isabella enjoying a DQ Blizzard for breakfast. Last night was picture night for her dance class. We made it through no worse for wear, but still her mom and I felt like we had earned ice cream. Stacy thought it would be rude if we didn't offer to buy Isabella ice cream, too, which made sense, and so, Isabella got a Blizzard. And, as she always does, she asked us to hold it for her. When we got home, she was tired, so she put it in the freezer and went to bed. This isn't unusual either, but it amazes me every time. Anyway, this morning she was thinking about what she wanted for breakfast and she remembered her ice cream. She asked if she could have it. My first thought was to say no, but then I thought, "well I don't want to punish her for saving it. It should already be in her system so why couldn't she have it now? If I explain why it is okay, shouldn't she be able to have it now?" Well, I did, and she is. And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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