Yikes! “How should i deal with all that Hallowe’en candy?” all the Moms working with me ask around this time of year. I smile as I think of the piles of candy in pillow cases my kids stash. I think that most years I finally end up throwing it out by June when it is clear that they have moved on.
Alot of parents handle Hallowe’en by letting their kids eat a ton of candy that day, and then limit it to one, two three treats per day, (they are small portions, after all!) that kids can choose for themselves. This is pretty much where I have landed as I have put some limits around sweets that feels reasonable yet not too depriving or restrictive. (At this point, my kids regulate themselves and I don’t have to say anything; they have figured out how to make those decisions.)
When my oldest daughter was a toddler, I experimented with my theory of self regulation: That if I allowed her the amount of sugar she wanted to eat, she would ultimately limit herself, and we would avoid the power struggles we were starting to get into: “One more, one more” she would say. In fact I will never forget when she asked for a second, third, and fourth lollipop at the age of two, and taking a deep breath, I experimented by giving her the whole bag. She sat there on the floor surrounded by the candy as the pops had fallen out of the bag and were everywhere. She looked all around, and said: “Oh my, Oh my”…. Took one last lick, and moved on.
As she grew a bit older and we could talk about treats as one of the food groups that made your tongue and head happy but didn’t do too much to help you on the soccer field, limits were put on treats, and choices made about when to eat them; she began to develop a sense of responsiblity toward her own nutritional intake.
But I must say, that when it comes to Hallowe’en, I like to eat to my heart’s content as well, and mutter to myself happily: “Oh my, oh my” . What fun.