as simple as
an ice cream
cone

The Cone

Fundamentals | Positive Reinforcement

You may have heard the term “positive reinforcement” before. It’s a fundamental building block for how kids, adults, and even our little furry friends learn which behaviors bring positive or negative outcomes to guide all future behavior. It’s how dogs learn that sitting on command brings them treats and that peeing on the rug brings them an angry mom. The idea is that every time we perform any behavior, it initiates some sort of consequence that determines whether or not we continue that behavior.

"Positive” refers to the addition of a consequence after a behavior and “reinforcement” refers to the encouragement of that behavior. Think of it like this: if every time you, let’s say, snapped your fingers, you were immediately rewarded with a brand new car, you would learn that snapping brings good things and do it as much as possible. On the flip side, if instead you were “rewarded” with a sink full of dirty dishes, maybe not so much. In both scenarios there was an addition of some consequence following the behavior (positive), but only in the first scenario was that consequence used to encourage the behavior (reinforcement).

At DinnerPal we like to focus on the positive side…of positive reinforcement – still with us? Instead of snapping and new cars we opt for good eating and a nightly game board with exciting trivia, mini activities, and intermittent prizes. We want your kids to learn that eating a full, balanced meal will bring them good things. Soon it will become second nature and dinner time will be a breeze. Sometimes it really is all just fun and games.













The Ice Cream

In Practice | Token Economy

The ice cream - what we’re all really here for. Or in this case, it’s the phenomenon of token economy. Token economy is pretty much exactly how it sounds: it’s a system in which rewards can be “bought” in exchange for predefined tokens that children earn, all for the purpose of reinforcing a desired behavior. It’s a very common way to execute positive reinforcement in a way that children can both understand and enjoy.

Token economy is the reason for the layout of the gameboard. Each night when children have eaten a satisfactory dinner, they get to move their game piece one space. Moving one space can be thought of as earning one token. Prizes are randomly dispersed throughout the month, so whenever children reach a prize night, they are metaphorically exchanging the tokens they have earned from several nights of good eating for that reward.

Anyone who has ever used a sticker chart to help kids with chores, potty training, etc. can speak to its effectiveness. How we differ from this is that we make it as fun for the kids and easy for the parents as possible. To parents, DinnerPal is a hassle-free, preorganized tool to help encourage healthy eating in a fun and nonintrusive way. A new kit comes each month with personalized prizes and a fresh gameboard so that it’s all done for you ahead of time. To kids, DinnerPal is a fun and rewarding game that they get to use every night - that just so happens to teach them something along the way.













The Cherry on Top

Lasting Outcome | Positive Context

Positive reinforcement and token economy provide an amazing framework when it comes to having a headache-free dinner every night, but what happens next is the real cherry on top. With less time allotted to negotiating dessert in exchange for three more bites of broccoli, what’s left is more time for what family dinner is all about: spending quality time together.

Family dinners that are unobstructed by technology, external stress, etc. have been associated with exciting positive effects on children, such as larger vocabularies, better nutrition, better behavior, and increased academic performance. They also strengthen the family unit, which is a benefit for everyone.

Not only does a positive dinner context have these amazing benefits, but it can also help your kids enjoy their food more. For young eaters trying foods for the first time, their food acceptance patterns follow a pretty simple formula: food preference = predispositions + exposure. We’re all predisposed to like or dislike certain foods. We can’t control that. But what we can control is the context in which we try those foods, and foods that are offered in the context of a fun dinner time game have a way better shot at acceptance than foods associated with some sort of threat, consequence, or bribery via dessert. This has lasting effects to the extent that kids might learn to enjoy certain foods they might have merely tolerated otherwise. Plus, learning more about food will allow them to understand their diet in a healthy way from an early age.













The Wrapper

Helping Picky Eaters | Food Aversion Therapy

The fourth layer of the DinnerPal system applies only to DinnerPal+. It is supposed to help those kids who are very picky eaters, and need a little extra help rounding out their diet. You can think of it like the wrapper on an ice cream cone - not necessary for most of us, but great for those of us who need a little extra help with melty drips.

DinnerPal+ is based on two fundamental features of Food Aversion Therapy. The first is that it can take as many as 25 steps ranging from sight, touch, and taste before a person can make a judgement on whether or not they like a food. With our personalized quiz, we can figure out where your child is starting and help recommend what step they are ready for. The second feature is known as Food Chaining. It is the idea that it is easier to integrate foods that look, feel, and taste like foods you already eat. You will enter the foods your child currently eats, and we will break it down into color, texture, temperature, and other qualities. From here we'll know which foods to start with, and which will be more of a challenge. The combination of these two techniques will allow us to build you a customized approach to introducing new foods to your child.

The Cone

Fundamentals | Positive Reinforcement

You may have heard the term “positive reinforcement” before. It’s a fundamental building block for how kids, adults, and even our little furry friends learn which behaviors bring positive or negative outcomes to guide all future behavior. It’s how dogs learn that sitting on command brings them treats and that peeing on the rug brings them an angry mom. The idea is that every time we perform any behavior, it initiates some sort of consequence that determines whether or not we continue that behavior.

"Positive” refers to the addition of a consequence after a behavior and “reinforcement” refers to the encouragement of that behavior. Think of it like this: if every time you, let’s say, snapped your fingers, you were immediately rewarded with a brand new car, you would learn that snapping brings good things and do it as much as possible. On the flip side, if instead you were “rewarded” with a sink full of dirty dishes, maybe not so much. In both scenarios there was an addition of some consequence following the behavior (positive), but only in the first scenario was that consequence used to encourage the behavior (reinforcement).

At DinnerPal we like to focus on the positive side…of positive reinforcement – still with us? Instead of snapping and new cars we opt for good eating and a nightly game board with exciting trivia, mini activities, and intermittent prizes. We want your kids to learn that eating a full, balanced meal will bring them good things. Soon it will become second nature and dinner time will be a breeze. Sometimes it really is all just fun and games.

The Ice Cream

In Practice | Token Economy

The ice cream - what we’re all really here for. Or in this case, it’s the phenomenon of token economy. Token economy is pretty much exactly how it sounds: it’s a system in which rewards can be “bought” in exchange for predefined tokens that children earn, all for the purpose of reinforcing a desired behavior. It’s a very common way to execute positive reinforcement in a way that children can both understand and enjoy.

Token economy is the reason for the layout of the gameboard. Each night when children have eaten a satisfactory dinner, they get to move their game piece one space. Moving one space can be thought of as earning one token. Prizes are randomly dispersed throughout the month, so whenever children reach a prize night, they are metaphorically exchanging the tokens they have earned from several nights of good eating for that reward.

Anyone who has ever used a sticker chart to help kids with chores, potty training, etc. can speak to its effectiveness. How we differ from this is that we make it as fun for the kids and easy for the parents as possible. To parents, DinnerPal is a hassle-free, preorganized tool to help encourage healthy eating in a fun and nonintrusive way. A new kit comes each month with personalized prizes and a fresh gameboard so that it’s all done for you ahead of time. To kids, DinnerPal is a fun and rewarding game that they get to use every night - that just so happens to teach them something along the way.

The Cherry on Top

Lasting Outcome | Positive Context

Positive reinforcement and token economy provide an amazing framework when it comes to having a headache-free dinner every night, but what happens next is the real cherry on top. With less time allotted to negotiating dessert in exchange for three more bites of broccoli, what’s left is more time for what family dinner is all about: spending quality time together.

Family dinners that are unobstructed by technology, external stress, etc. have been associated with exciting positive effects on children, such as larger vocabularies, better nutrition, better behavior, and increased academic performance. They also strengthen the family unit, which is a benefit for everyone.

Not only does a positive dinner context have these amazing benefits, but it can also help your kids enjoy their food more. For young eaters trying foods for the first time, their food acceptance patterns follow a pretty simple formula: food preference = predispositions + exposure. We’re all predisposed to like or dislike certain foods. We can’t control that. But what we can control is the context in which we try those foods, and foods that are offered in the context of a fun dinner time game have a way better shot at acceptance than foods associated with some sort of threat, consequence, or bribery via dessert. This has lasting effects to the extent that kids might learn to enjoy certain foods they might have merely tolerated otherwise. Plus, learning more about food will allow them to understand their diet in a healthy way from an early age.

The Wrapper

Helping Picky Eaters | Food Aversion Therapy

The fourth layer of the DinnerPal system applies only to DinnerPal+. It is supposed to help those kids who are very picky eaters, and need a little extra help rounding out their diet. You can think of it like the wrapper on an ice cream cone - not necessary for most of us, but great for those of us who need a little extra help with melty drips.

DinnerPal+ is based on two fundamental features of Food Aversion Therapy. The first is that it can take as many as 25 steps ranging from sight, touch, and taste before a person can make a judgement on whether or not they like a food. With our personalized quiz, we can figure out where your child is starting and help recommend what step they are ready for. The second feature is known as Food Chaining. It is the idea that it is easier to integrate foods that look, feel, and taste like foods you already eat. You will enter the foods your child currently eats, and we will break it down into color, texture, temperature, and other qualities. From here we'll know which foods to start with, and which will be more of a challenge. The combination of these two techniques will allow us to build you a customized approach to introducing new foods to your child.

DinnerPal ®