It’s officially here…THE HOLIDAY SEASON! I think it started back in August when the first appearance of Halloween decorations showed up at Target. But now that we’ve hit October, let the official holiday games begin.
Me, you and every other parent of small, sweet-toothed children are asking each other the same standard question that we ask every year which is “How do I manage how much candy my kid is going to get and then eat?” And every year, we are looking for the silver bullet answer. But truthfully, there is none. Our kids are going to be eating too much candy, PERIOD. At least that is the way I look at it. Additionally, I know that, as a parent, one of my roles is to teach my children what moderation means and what that looks like in regards to sweets. In my house, my kids are allowed a “treat” everyday and I consider this moderation. Heck, I like to have a little sweet treat everyday so why should I deny them a little sweet treat as well. Research shows that restricting candy and sweets can backfire in the long run because kids want the “forbidden fruit” even more.
But, for some reason, during the holiday season, the definition of moderation becomes a teensy bit stretched out to look more like MMOODDEERRAATTIIOONN…because it includes just a bit more than I would normally serve. It just is what it is. I grew up like that and most likely so did you. We all turned out fine. My recommendation would be to release the guilt and just go with it.
But, let’s put TWO things in place to help proactively manage the candy craze.
To keep the holiday eating from becoming permanently in that MMOODDEERRAATTIIOONN state, use my two SUPERPOWER moves to get you through Halloween:
SUPERPOWER MOVE #1: THE SWITCH WITCH IS A MUST DO AT ALL HOMES!
Read my blog post on the Switch Witch to find out more.
SUPERPOWER MOVE #2: CREATE YOUR “FAMILY TREATY ON TREATS”
- Involve Your Kids – Work together with your kids to come up with what would be a plan for Halloween treats that would make everyone happy. It is important that the kids are involved in making this decision because they will be more likely to follow the plan. You may be surprised that they may be more strict on themselves than what you had planned for them.
- Answer these questions to develop your treaty:
- How much candy will your child be able to eat on Halloween night?
- After the Halloween night sugar surge, will your plan allow 1, 2, 3, or more pieces of candy a day and for how many days?
- My kids tend to forget about the candy after about a week, especially if I store it in the cupboard so it is out of sight. Find a place in your home to store their candy out of sight. Candy should NOT be kept in their bedrooms.
- By having the Switch Witch come, you can limit the number of days by deciding how many pieces go into the “keep” pile.
- Does it matter what size candy when they are picking the number of pieces to eat? For instance, does a regular size Kit Kat represent the same thing as a mini-Kit-Kat?
- I know this is splitting hairs but it happens to me every year and I have to make the judgement call. But, if I know my plan beforehand and communicate my plan beforehand, then I can be prepared and consistent in my decisions so my kids will know after asking me one or two times and then they will not ask anymore.
- Does your child understand reasonable portion sizes? If not, then this is the perfect teachable moment. If you are not sure yourself, click here for moderation guidelines.
And if you are wondering what my answers to these questions are, here you go:
- My kids can eat as much as they want on Halloween night. You would be surprised that when given free reign, they typically will stop themselves when they’ve had enough. Of course we have a good dinner before going trick or treating so they aren’t starving either and using candy to fill their tummies.
- My kids are allowed to keep 20 pieces of candy so the candy craze lasts about 10 days after Halloween.
- They are allowed to eat 2 per day unless it is a normal size piece and that would represent 2 pieces.
- My kids understand reasonable portion sizes because I teach them this at home. For instance, my two girls love M&Ms and they have about 10 each every day. It is a mixture of all the different types – mini, regular, pretzel, crispies…you name it, we have tried it but those are the house favorites. My son varies. He is currently eating a mini-ice cream cone with a small scoop of ice cream.
Lesley’s youngest daughter really needed a new look so we opted for the scary wolf mask!
Thanks for reading and I hope this note gives you some direction on a Halloween Candy Action Plan and releases any parent guilt around the sweets craze at the start of the holiday season. Just remember, it will end. It ended last year and you are still here to talk about it and your kids are still running around happy and healthy.