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Happy Meals Making Moms Unhappy

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Florida parents surprised by McDonald's "reward" for good grades.

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Update: McDonald's has decided to stop sponsoring Happy Meals as rewards for children with good grades and attendance records in elementary schools in Seminole County, Florida, reports The New York Times.

When kids in some parts of Florida brought home their report cards this week, some parents were shocked to see Ronald McDonald staring up at them from the manila envelope it was in. It turns out McDonald's offers free Happy Meals as a reward for good grades to elementary school students in nine Central Florida counties. But many parents were upset by the pressure to take their kids to McDonalds to claim this reward.

McDonald's says the free meal is nutritious if kids make the right choices: Chicken nuggets, apple slices with caramel dipping sauce and low-fat milk are 375 calories and 13 grams of fat. Yeah, right—our kids never want fries or a Sprite when they go to Mickey D's... Hmm... Do you think this is a good policy?



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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Tawni December 7, 2007, 9:33 AM

YES!!! Wds are hat is wrong with strong incentive to do well,enjoy school,and be rewarded for it, AND what child does NOT like McDonald’s or Happy Meals? Lighten up! Report card’s are what? 4 per year?

TxnMomma December 7, 2007, 9:54 AM

What’s the big deal?? Here in Frisco, TX our kids have a smiliar incentive, but from Pizza Hut - they get one free personal sized pizza for reading a certain number of books or hours of reading each month. There are far too many other more important things in life than to stress over being rewarded with a Happy Meal. If you don’t want your kids eating it, then just don’t take them. PRESSURE to take them there? Please. You’re the parent, take control - you decide if you want to take them there or not and YOU order for them. Get real and get over it!

TxnMomma December 7, 2007, 9:55 AM

What’s the big deal?? Here in Frisco, TX our kids have a smiliar incentive, but from Pizza Hut - they get one free personal sized pizza for reading a certain number of books or hours of reading each month. There are far too many other more important things in life than to stress over being rewarded with a Happy Meal. If you don’t want your kids eating it, then just don’t take them. PRESSURE to take them there? Please. You’re the parent, take control - you decide if you want to take them there or not and YOU order for them. Get real and get over it!

Ladyblue December 7, 2007, 1:29 PM

For me, it’s not the Happy Meal that’s the problem - it’s that McD has found another way to advertise to our children - and the school board is helping them. Can’t even our report cards be ad free?

Sheri December 7, 2007, 9:33 PM

I think it’s wrong to make the parents the bad guy if they don’t want to feed them McDonalds. Why can’t they put something non-food related in there? Rewarding with any food sends the wrong message anyway. Food rewards are one of the reasons this country is so overweight to begin with.

Patrysha December 12, 2007, 9:00 AM

While McDonald’s coupons are not the incentive I’d want to see in a report card, one happy meal at report card time (even making the “wrong” choices) isn’t going to destroy an overall healthy diet. But then I’m big on the “all things in moderation” type of diet.

If it is a big issue, then parents who feel the reward is inappropriate need to take a stand and get involved with the school through Parent Council or PTA.

Susanne January 18, 2008, 2:23 PM

I actually agree with much of the above, I don’t mind the reward of McDonald’s as I feel as a nurse they have tried to change their menu to reflect better choices. As has DisneyWorld, Chick-fil-a and others. But the bottom line is as a parent if you do not make healthy choices yourself or at least encourage healty choices at McDonalds then your child will have those same habits. Maybe the conversation is… do you want your dipping sauce or would you like your apples plain…My girls don’t even know there is a choice of fries at McDonald’s! You can’t blame bad choices on the restaurant and by the way I actually don’t work for McDonald’s or anything just tired of them getting a bad rap! Just my two cents!!

carmen June 29, 2008, 10:58 AM

My daughter is way past the happy meeal stage, she is almost 15. We are going through the Starbucks faze noe. There is nothing wrong with rewarding You child. for accomplishments no matter how old or what the situation,be it good grades or just helping around the house. sincerely,Carmen Coleman

Angry Virgin February 20, 2011, 2:56 PM

When I have a kid, and she gets a good grade, I do nothing. I won’t reward her.

dion February 28, 2011, 6:47 PM

parents should use their stoves more often. the kids wont be as fat.
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