Gum Day

Gum Day

When my children were 4 and 5 years old, they were introduced to chewing gum by a friend. I had debated whether I would let them chew gum at all just because I didn't like the additives in the "sugar free" gum, or all the sugar they would get if they chewed regular gum. So I told them that they could chew gum on Saturdays. They could chew regular gum, as long as they brushed their teeth frequently throughout the day. They could have their own pack and they could choose their flavor of gum that day.

So every Saturday became "Gum Day" and they could chew whenever they wanted, as long as they didn't leave wrappers around and the gum stayed in their mouths. Gum Day was eliminated for the next week if I found wrappers lying around. This worked fine with them and they accepted it quite readily and never really questioned it. The idea is that gum chewing was controlled and at the same time I let them be in charge (on a certain day) of picking out some treats. 

My children are 11 and 12 years old now and we still do this routine. They see gum as a privilege and they also know how it effects their teeth so to them it is a way to get a treat without going overboard. It became so routine for them that when we were checking out at a store one day when my son was 7 years old and he was watching the check-out boy, he turned to me and asked, "What day is today mom?" and I replied, "Thursday". He said, "Why is that man chewing gum?" I responded, "It must be that his mom lets him chew gum on Thursday!"