Hi. I'm Laurie Canata, founder of Fruit-Full Kids™ and mother of four.
To be honest, Fruit-Full Kids™ started as a joke. I was having a particularly frustrating day with my children. They just weren't being nice! I said (sarcastically), "I'm going to make a kindness award. If any of you can be nice to the others all day, you'll get it!" I then turned to a friend and muttered, "I'll never have to come up with that award!” Apparently God seems to have a good sense of humor.
As you may have guessed, my kids surprised me. Their behavior began to improve and they kept asking what the award would be, and if they had earned it. By dinner I realized that I was going to have to follow through on my well-intentioned sarcastic whim. When we sat down to dinner, I congratulated each child for the kind things he or she had done. I singled out one in particular and served his dinner on a different plate. “Ta Da! The kindness award!” The next day, the kids kept talking about who was going to win the kindness award that evening. Something was different. They held doors, gave hugs, and carried groceries. I was onto something!
As I thought about the heart and behavior change I was witnessing in my children’s lives, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) came to mind. I was interested to see if this newfound Christian parenting idea would work with another fruit characteristic, like offering a recognition award for self-control. The response was just as positive and things took off from there.
There’s something very powerful about simply recognizing good behavior with a shared award. And the break from the cycle of bribing the children with sweet treats or toys is very refreshing. I started working the fruit of the Spirit Children’s plates concept into breakfast and lunch to encourage the kids to look for ways to show kindness, joy, or patience that day. And when we have a rough day, I can always say, “Today's award is for love, because I always love you.” Not only has this had a big impact on my children individually, but it has also fostered greater Christ-focused family interaction at the dinner table. And that is how Fruit-Full Kids was born.
I am continually amazed how the concept of kid’s plates have produced real life change. There’s nothing magical about the children’s dinner plates. They are just a tool God is using to produce Christ-like character in our family. Because some things are too good to keep to yourself, it’s my privilege to share this tradition with your family. Make your mealtime fun, create some teachable moments, and encourage the growth of your little ones’ Christian character with Fruit-Full Kids.