Secret #4: Don’t Give Sweets Special Attention
Sweets get a lot of attention from parents and kids, both as something positive and negative. Studies show that using sweets as a reward for eating other foods, like vegetables, increases kids preference for the reward food. For example, saying “If you finish your broccoli, you can have cake,” makes cake king in your child’s mind.
Instead, be neutral in how you deal with sweets by treating them like just another food your family eats. Feeding expert Ellyn Satter says to serve dessert right along with dinner, so kids don't hold out. Stay calm when you find out your child ate candy at a friend's house; making sweets taboo may make them more desirable to your child.