Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of. How did this nursery rhyme become so popular? This poem, regarding little girls is commonly found in the Mother Goose nursery rhyme collections.

And it continues with: Sunshine and rainbows and ribbons for hair bows. tea parties, laces and baby doll faces, that’s what little girls are made of. Does this explain that little girls are naturally attracted to lollypops, candy and chocolates?

Yes – most little girls like lollypops and candy and chocolates too. Sugar is often used to reward children for good behaviour, to entice them to finish their meals or to show them affection. At first this seems pretty harmless and the reasoning that a piece of candy or chocolate can do harm is often dismissed and the practice continues and is re-enforced with every additional bribe or reward.

But what about the long-term effects and the dependency on sugar or sweet treats to their overall well-being. When children associate feeling happy and loved with sugar, with cakes, with ice-cream, with a variety of sweetened treats, this message is clear and re-enforced again and again.

Even the smallest of our children are exposed to the sweet taste of cookies, cereals and juices with excess amounts of fructose and sugar. How do we balance the feeling of accomplishments and achievements without setting the stage for the dependency on sugary rewards to celebrate? Without setting the stage for these habits to be formed very early in life and then have long reaching consequences later into adulthood.