The Conversation

Your weekly dose of evidence

There's so much information online about how to parent – what's good and bad for kids, and how to set them up to be happy, kind and resilient adults. But this advice isn't always based on evidence. This week we asked five experts what the research says about using food as a reward for kids. All of them said no, but for different reasons.

Of course, it's much easier to theorise about how we want to parent than to put it into practice, especially when dealing with a tantrum in the supermarket aisle, or trying to get kids fed, dressed and out the door on time. Paediatrician Anthea Rhodes reminds us that parenting is a tough gig and we shouldn't strive for perfection – or expect perfect behaviour from our kids.

And catch up with some of our parenting content from the archives about how to respond to school refusal, and a different way to approach kids not doing chores or homework.

Fron Jackson-Webb

Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Rewarding a child with ice cream for eating vegetables teaches a child certain things about vegetables, ice cream, and behaviour. from

We asked five experts: should we use food as a reward for kids?

Alexandra Hansen, The Conversation

Five out of five experts said we shouldn't reward kids with food. But for very different reasons.

Praising and encouraging your children will likely make you feel less stressed about your parenting duties. Caroline Hernandez/Unsplash

Stressed about managing your child’s behaviour? Here are four things every parent should know

Anthea Rhodes, University of Melbourne

A survey of Australian parents has found many are overwhelmed by the stress of managing their child's behaviour.

English spelling is not an illogical burden there to make life difficult for our children.

Does your child struggle with spelling? This might help

Misty Adoniou, University of Canberra

Teaching children how to break down words into their meaning and origin can help them be better spellers.

Roxy Jacenko and daughter Pixie (centre) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2016. Pixie’s Instagram account has more than 100,000 followers and she has a signature line of hair bows. Dan Himbrechts

Friday essay: family as ‘brand’ – the rise of the digital mumpreneur

Camilla Nelson, University of Notre Dame Australia

A growing number of parents are making money out of their children by turning them into social media celebrities. But the chimera of corporate branding is no antidote for lives lived in precarious times.

From the archives: parenting

Parents, stop nagging kids not to forget – set visual cues instead

Adam Bulley, The University of Queensland; Jonathan Redshaw, The University of Queensland; Sam Gilbert, UCL

Instead of nagging younger kids "not to forget", and trusting the power of the child’s developing memory alone, try to help them "offload" as much of the work as possible.

So your child refuses to go to school? Here’s how to respond

Jade Sheen, Deakin University; Amanda Dudley, Deakin University

The beginning of a new school term is often met with resistance from kids who would prefer to stay on school holidays. But for some parents, getting their kids to go to school is an ongoing battle.

Should you hide negative emotions from children?

John Lambie, Anglia Ruskin University

Hiding feelings can cause distress in children too.

The five best parenting books grounded in science: an expert’s choice

Sarah Kuppen, Anglia Ruskin University

An author picks her best reads for a scientific approach to raising children.

Expert answers to serious, weird and wacky questions

Food helps recharge your batteries. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: Why do we need food?

Amanda Devine, Edith Cowan University

Just like a mobile phone, your body needs to be recharged every day. You need to eat food and drink water every day to keep your body going. Some foods are better than others at helping you stay well.

Curious Kids: if you have lots of the thing you’re allergic to, does your body get used to it?

Sophie Medlin, King's College London

Don't try this at home, kids.

Curious Kids: why do some dogs get ‘snow nose’ in winter?

Aaron Herndon, The University of Queensland

Dog skin is exactly the same as yours and mine! It changes colour depending on how much light it's exposed to.

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