How might one deal with a 5 1/2 yo who wants money to buy junk food at day camp? For example, gatorade costs $1 and a snow cone costs $2.

I would rather the young fellow eat the nutritious lunch I pack for him, with healthy foods he likes.

  • 4
    Is there a problem with just saying "no, this lunch here is perfectly fine"?
    – Remco
    Jun 24, 2016 at 13:42
  • 2
    @Remco The young fellow really feels left out when his friends buy the junk. Perhaps I'll try once a week. Jun 24, 2016 at 16:43
  • 2
    @Remco he'll feel left out when other kids are doing drugs, sexting, and lord knows what else in high school... sorry to burst your bubble early, but you gotta start building character early!
    – Adam Heeg
    Jun 24, 2016 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


Gatorade isn't really "junk". I would give him $1 only per day. He can buy the Gatorade, or "save" so that he can buy a snowcone in 2 days. A lot of lessons there -- having a budget, delaying gratification. My opinion: it is important for him to have some freedom to buy stuff with his friends at a special more-independent place like camp. Even if he has more restrictions when at home.

  • 5
    Gatorade is a high sugar drink. Calories should come from food. (Thx for the lessons ideas.) Jun 24, 2016 at 16:41
  • 2
    Gatorade is totally junk - 5 year old children should drink only full fat milk, or water. If the child refuses to drink those a parent could try a sugar free drink, or as a last resort a highly diluted fruit juice (1 part juice to 10 parts water). Gatorade is full of sugar.
    – user19912
    Jun 24, 2016 at 17:15
  • @ZaydeinNY Gatorade isn't perfect, but you can't win this battle in the US. Schools and day cares fill the kids with crappy food all the time... not to mention grand parents...
    – Adam Heeg
    Jun 24, 2016 at 19:50
  • You can't win this battle in any developed country. Welcome to 2016.
    – user7953
    Jun 24, 2016 at 20:16
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    @AdamHeeg Not only fill the kids with junk but (in effect) make them pay for it! There should be a law. But when the Mayor of NY tried that, he was shot down: nytimes.com/2014/06/27/nyregion/…. Diabetes here we come. Jun 24, 2016 at 22:23

Tough question, gray zone here IMO.

My vote is 5 1/2 is still too young to make good decisions. If your child, in YOUR opinion, can't yet understand why healthy food is better, then it's up to you to restrict what he eats.

Socialization is always important, but sure he can socialize playing. And each family has its own rules.

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