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Healthy Rewards

Using non-food motivators provides consistent health messages to students and helps create a healthy school environment.

Schools are encouraged to use creative, positive incentives to reward student behavior and avoid punishing children by taking away opportunities for physical activity like recess or PE class. Additionally, imposing physical activity as a punishment–such as making students run laps or do push-ups–can lead to students disliking and avoiding physical activity now and in the future.

What Do Non-Food Rewards Look Like?

There are many low or no cost rewards that can be used instead of food motivators, for example:

  • A call home with a positive report
  • Extra credit points
  • Choose the class activity or read-aloud book for the day
  • Inexpensive awards; e.g., stickers or water bottles


Policy Requirements

  • Do not withhold recess, PE, or physical activity time as a consequence of negative behavior.
  • Do not withhold food as a punishment, including providing a separate or modified meal.
  • Use creative, positive incentives instead of food to reward student behavior.
  • Physical activity is recommended as a reward for good behavior.

Student Health and Wellness

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