Food or No Food?

In my younger days, to reward students, I would let them choose from the candy box.  It wasn't anything major, just the "Child's Mix" candy that has tootsie rolls and other candy included.  They had to earn the candy; they weren't rewarded with it every session.  
Then, a lot of schools went with the "no candy" rule.  That was when I stopped giving out candy as a reward.  I switched to fruit snacks, which I realize isn't a whole lot better, but it has "fruit" in its name, so it's not candy, right?  When a student finished a row on his "sticker chart", he alternated between the prize box and the fruit snack box. 

 In the past couple of years, I have cut out the fruit snack box for my school students (my walk-in preschoolers still can earn one if they work hard for me...meaning  they almost always get one!), and have gone strictly to the prize box.
When we do something food-related in speech (which is rare), I have the students take the item home in a ziplock bag.  I don't allow them to eat anything from me at school.
The reason for this is the outbreak of allergies and parents going "gluten free" with their kids.  I don't feel like I can be responsible for giving a student something they shouldn't have, or that the parent doesn't want him to have.  The rule is the same whether they choose a prize from the treasure box, or they take a food item home:  Put it in your backpack until you get home.  Each of my students can recite that verbatim.  All I have to ask is, "What are you going to do with that?", and he/she will say, "Put it in my backpack."  If they don't finish it, I'll say, "Until..." and they'll finish it with "I get home"!
I suppose that I could get permission from each parent, but it's been my experience that some parents don't closely look over forms that are sent home.  Or, I may not get a form back from a parent.  To me, it's a lot more hassle to keep up with who can eat what than just do the same thing for everybody.
If you allow students to eat in your speech room, how do you handle this issue?


  1. I don't do food in my classroom either. The prize box prizes must be in the backpack until they get home.
    The ONLY time I do "food" is when I have a child presenting as phonologically delayed - I will sometimes use a dum-dum sucker to elicit /k/. I ALWAYS ask permission at the eligibility meeting before services start.

  2. I agree with you! I do not nor have I given out food as a reward. It becomes a lot of trouble. The students get to pick from the prize box. I will however bribe some of my older students with candy on occasion, but at that age they know what they can and cannot eat. I do not do it often but sometimes it is the incentive I need for the older students, especially as they usually do not care for toys, pencils, erasers and such.

  3. My pre-school students get a choice of a single Skittle or a sticker. Many of them choose the sticker as that is more of a novelty than the candy option! I also give my older students (4-5th graders) the opportunity to earn three Skittles each session: one for homework, one for hard work, and one for being helpful or kind to a group mate. I've never had any complaints about this system. But I do get parental permission to distribute candy at the beginning of the school year. As long as the parent is informed I'm okay with a small food treat.


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