Family Magazine

Hosting Kids Birthday Parties in the Classroom is Becoming No Piece of Cake

By Stevezany @stevezany

Hosting kids birthday parties in the classroom is becoming no piece of cake

Posted on Sep 13, 2011

The days of having your kids birthday party in the classroom with food as the center of the celebration may soon be long gone.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest supports guidelines for healthy classroom kids parties in order to encourage “healthy fun.” The recommendations suggest that schools promote health by issuing a policy that any classroom party for kids be a health conscious one. Since 1971, the Center has advocated strongly for food safety, health and nutrition as well as sound science, among other issues.

The Center cites the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) who developed a model policy with three suggestions:

  1. “Schools should limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month.”
  2. “Each party should include no more than one food or beverage that does not meet nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (see
  3. School districts should “disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.”

Schools who adopt such policies have decided it makes sense to abolish long-standing traditions of having a kids birthday party with snacks provided by the child’s parent on the day of his or her birthday.

The Mansfield, Massachusetts school district is one school system who has adopted such a policy. The changes were reportedly met with only minor debate.

In fact, in August 2012, the state of Massachusetts will put new nutrition guidelines into effect for public schools. The policies do not blatantly ban food being served at kids birthday party celebrations in the classroom, but limit the types of food that can be served.

So parents in Massachusetts, be on the lookout for notices from your child’s school, at some point, that say, if you bring in any kids birthday party treat from home for your child’s class it cannot be more than 200 calories, or more than 35 percent of its calories from sugar or fat. Bye bye cupcakes!

Such polices don’t taste right to all parents. Some vocal parents say school’s shouldn’t limit the number of class birthday parties that include junk food. After all, school’s sell flavored milk and sell candy bars and popcorn for fundraisers. Some parents say schools should be more worried about child’s test scores than cupcakes. They say that preventing childhood obesity and preventing healthy eating habits is the responsibility of moms and dads.

On the other side of the argument, some educators say learning institutions aren’t a place for kids parties.

Other parents, like Kelly Rudnicki, also known as The Food Allergy Mama  believes kids birthday parties at school are okay, but without the food.

“Mom and Dad can come in to read a book and pass out fun trinkets if desired,” Kelly says. “But keep your cupcakes at home.”

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