I have kids on very different ends of the "dessert spectrum."
My first child...She is a dessert-a-holic. I can't remember but pretty early on I wanted her to experience her first lollipop, her first taste of ice cream, her first chocolate...and now I deeply regret it.
Now, at age 10 yrs, and for a long long time, she's refused to accept that there is NO dessert at every meal. In fact, she prefers if you bribe her with dessert to make her eat her food. She's been the pickiest eater and boy, hindsight is 20/20.
I don't know if it's true for everyone, but we made a mistake, we introduced the "dessert comes after dinner" concept and she's NEVER let us forget it.
My sons...My sons are twins, so I got child 2 and 3 at the same time. When they were born my daughter was 3 and a 1/2 yrs old and at the peak of her picky eating. Every bite with her was a chore, a fight, a lesson in patience and parenting, but with my sons, we vowed to do things differently.
Dessert, although their sister got it, we kind of protected them from the idea of it for quite some time. They often would eat and go to bed without it, without asking for it, and without even really knowing they could.
As they got older, dessert for them turned in to something they got to choose and often it was frozen blueberries, an apple or crackers with peanut butter.
To this day, unless we have a fresh baked cookies or some other rare treat, they continue to choose apple sauce, yogurt with honey or something else delightfully NOT junk food. In fact, the other night one asked for a pickle for dessert and the other asked for a hard-boiled egg.
I'm certainly no expert but I know what worked for us and we continue to see benefits from raising them without knowing that dessert = junk food. My daughter, well she takes after me, and is and will continue to be a WHOLE other story...lol
What are your family's practices on dessert? Do you offer one every night? If so, at what age? If not, do you plan to? Please share with me your thoughts on this.