I know, this probably doesn’t sound very ethical or motherly, but my answer to this question is a resounding, ‘yes!’ And, although I’ve never done a ‘food bribery’ survey of parents, I doubt I’m alone on this. I mean, kids can be highly visually ‘picky’ and it’s not like I pay them $10 to try something they think ‘looks gross’–most of my bribes only involve various numbers of quarters. Plus, these monetary encouragements have proven worthwhile on more than one occasion, expanding my kids eating repertoire one quarter at a time.
The thing is, my kids won’t eat many things I know they’d like just because they don’t like the way the food looks. I could just go with the whole parent, "You have to try one bite or you can’t have dessert," routine, but that is far less effective. And I don’t always pay them to try food either, but If I really think they’ll like it, it’s worth it to me. With my kids, when I force them to try things, they pre-decide that they don’t like it, just because they’re mad at me. BUT, if I bribe them, it becomes a game that they win either way–if they don’t like, they still get a quarter and if they do, they get a quarter and a new food they’ll eat. And I, the mom, get the joy of knowing that at least they’re trying these foods.
I will have to say, though, that the best 50 cents I ever spent was when they tried chicken livers. Now I love liver of all kinds, so I thought maybe they might too…? (OK, I know that’s stretching it, but you never know, right?) Well, let’s just say they didn’t, but I can still picture the look on their faces and the urgent grasping for milk to get the flavor out of their mouths. Priceless 😉
Please share your thoughts or creative ways for encouraging your kids to try new foods by posting a comment below…maybe there’s something better than monetary bribery??? 😀