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Washington Youth Garden

Bribe them. Really.

April Martin

Technique 2: Positive reinforcement

You can also just encourage them.  A study done by “University College London shows that with rewards, children not only eat their vegetables, but learn to like them, too."  Children between the ages of 4 and 6 were divided into 3 groups and were daily given a vegetable they didn’t like much every day for 12 days.  Participants in one group received stickers as rewards when they ate the vegetable.  In another group, they were simply given praise.  The control group did not receive anything, but were also served the vegetable daily.  Even after 3 months of time with all rewards removed, children that initially received the rewards or praise still liked the vegetable more than they did initially.  And both the reward and praise group were eating almost twice as much as the control group.

So whether you are into sticker charts or high fives, evidence shows that you can improve your kids’ eating habits.

Stay tuned for our third technique in our "How to get kids (and adults) to eat more vegetables” series…