One thing that’s surprised me about blogging is how quickly you get on the radar screen of PR people. Not long after I launched TLT, my inbox started clogging up daily with sales pitches for anything and everything food related. (And some of these pitches are so off the mark, it’s hilarious. Remember this one?)
Normally I just ignore this stuff but I recently received one solicitation that was just so . . . unusual . . . I wanted to share it here and get your thoughts.
It’s for a DVD series called Copy-Kids and, as far as I can tell, it’s nothing but video footage of very young kids eating produce. According to the sales pitch, “It features kids having such a good time eating fruits and veggies, that when children watch it they want to join in.”
In other words, you park your toddler in front of the t.v. and make them watch other toddlers munching away with abandon on things like whole red peppers and entire heads of raw broccoli with the hope that he or she will follow suit. My kids happened to be in the kitchen while I was watching all this, and we were howling at the sales reel’s footage of a child watching the t.v. and then “spontaneously” getting her own entire head of raw broccoli (have these people never heard of a knife?) and imitating the toddler on the screen. Really?
As a parent who has had her fair share of challenges getting at least one child to eat vegetables (a problem he’s now rapidly growing out of, thank goodness), I can understand the motivation behind a product like this. But would it actually work? I asked my daughter what she thought about it and she said, “No, it wouldn’t work, because those kids aren’t kids you know. Like, who cares if those kids are eating vegetables?”
And that’s exactly right, in my opinion. There is a “monkey see, monkey do” element to getting some kids to eat well, but the role model needs to be you, the parent, and the rest of your family, and maybe even your child’s veggie-loving pal down the street. Your child cares deeply about all those people and, as kid/food expert Ellyn Satter often writes, he or she has a built-in desire to imitate and please. So even if the process is slow, as it was in my son’s case, it’s the veggie-filled meals you eat together as a family that gets kids interested in exploring those foods.
Maybe a video like this could be a helpful adjunct to real world modeling, and I know there’s nothing new about using television to teach desired behaviors to little kids (think Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, et al). But there’s something so incredibly heavy-handed about this particular approach, something so sterile and forced, that it makes me sort of sad to think about.
Hmmm . . . after a review like this, maybe my inbox won’t be so clogged in the future.
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