What will you do with all that candy? What is your child going to do with their Halloween loot? This time of year, the goal is to find a balance between restricting sweets and complete over indulgence.
Follow the Lines of Responsibility
As parents, we are responsible for deciding what, when and where our children eat. The kids are responsible for deciding whether to eat and how much to eat. Following these lines of responsibility is easier when you make sweets and treats available in a way that sets up children for success, which allows a healthy relationship with food to develop. Keep the following ideas in mind when dealing with the extra treats that come around this time of year.
- Give your kiddo a piece of candy on their plate with meals and snacks. Offer it often enough that children don’t feel deprived, but not so often that candy edges out important nutrients from other foods. Try not to make a big deal out of it, it’s just another food for your child to explore.
- Accompany the candy with other yummy foods so that your child is able enjoy multiple foods along with sweets.
- Provide it in a healthful way and help your child to learn how to eat it appropriately rather than withholding candy.
- Use stickers, crayons, coloring books, small toys, walks, park-outings and other fun activities as rewards rather than using candy, or any food, as their reward.
- Be a role model and show them how to eat candy with enjoyment and self-control.
- Trust children to honor their bodies.
Think Before You Speak
Think about your intentions before controlling the Halloween loot. Are you trying to protect your child from gaining weight? If so, they will sense and internalize your intentions and that will negatively affect their relationship with food. Instead speak from your heart, teach them self-respect and how to honor their bodies needs.
Give children reasons to limit their intake of candy by speaking to them in ways that support their ability to take care of themselves. Try completing the following sentence, “Don’t eat too much candy because…” with these ideas:
- It will make your tummy ache.
- Your taste buds want to enjoy more tomorrow.
- Sleep is important, and if you eat too much before bed it will be hard to fall sleep.
- Too much candy isn’t good for your teeth.
What Will You Do?
As important as the rules of responsibility above is how you deal with sweets and your favorite indulgent foods. If you have children in your life, they are watching your every move and soaking everything in. That’s intense.
Show your kids how to savor a piece of candy rather than hiding the candy in the back of the closet or eating it when they can’t see you. You have to show them how to practice self-control so that they can learn it for themselves.
Do Better Next Time
If you eat too much, own it. Tell them how you ate more than you intended, and then the next day, show them how you can thoughtfully handle yourself better by slowly enjoying a piece of candy with a meal or snack. This demonstrates self-control rather than restriction and deprivation. If you over do it and then throw out all the candy in the house, that will teach the child that binging and purging is the only way to deal with a bag full of sweetness. Show them that it is possible to over indulge AND still have the opportunity to make a different choice next time.
No Fat Talk
Talk in a body-positive fashion rather than in a disrespectful way. Kids repeat everything; do you want your child to say, “Look at me, I am so fat, I need to go on a diet!” If not, please don’t say that about yourself.
Halloween is the start of the holiday season with lots more treats and special occasions coming up, think about how you want to handle yourself around food. What kind of role model do you want to be?
Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.