The anxiety you feel when you let your little ones explore and indulge in candy is more about your own discomfort in giving up control.
Repeat after me: ________ (child’s name) can be trusted around treats.
3 of Your Major Concerns Debunked
#1. They will eat too much candy and get a stomach ache
Maybe, but so what?
When was the last time you ate too much food and felt kind of bloated or overly full?
Kids should be allowed to have that experience too. They can learn from it; grow from it.
Does that make them bad or not an intuitive eater? Not in the least. It means they are human! Congrats, you are in fact raising a human being (contrary to how you may feel some days)
#2. They'll be bouncing off the walls eating that much sugar.
The so called “sugar-rush” is really just your child’s body easily digesting the candy, because they are primarily simple sugars/simple carbohydrates, so they get a lot of energy FAST.
The “crash” happens about 20 minutes later when that fast energy gets burned off and they’re left running on empty. This is exactly why I suggest offering candy as an addition to a meal or snack. It helps to guarantee your child will have enough calories and energy to last them until the next meal or snack.
#3. They won't eat REAL food if candy is an option
Possibly, but that all depends on how candy is being handled. If candy is strictly limited all year round, it will be a huge distraction for your child.
They’ll think about it all day.
Fixate on how to get it.
Beg and plead with you, or bug the heck out of you to get more candy.
Peg you and your partner, or grandparents against each other until they get candy.
And feel out of control when they finally get their little hands on the candy.
So what to do instead? That’s coming next.
How you can help your little one be more mindful with candy
Tip #1: Allow your child to choose how many candies they want to eat in one sitting
When you say you get one candy, what does your child say immediately?
I want two!
Avoid the battle all together and allow them to choose how many candies they want to eat along with food.
Remember, they can eat these candies at any point in the meal, because after all they are just food, so expect the candy to be eaten first.
If this doesn’t fly with you, then choose one meal each day where you can tolerate this to happen and verbally remind your child when that time will be.
If you’re completely uncomfortable with them choosing how much candy to eat, you can also set the guideline that they can eat 5 candies a day, for example, and they can choose which meal or snack to eat them at. This gives your child more independence to decide how much candy they want to eat in one sitting.
Tip #2: Pick one or two days a week where candy is all that's served as a snack
If you have one of those kids that’s obsessed with candy, always asking for candy you need to take a more aggressive approach to dampen their appetite for candy.
This approach isn’t for the faint of heart, as it requires for you to be 100% OK with the fact that your child will literally just be eating candy at one snack, along with milk.
One major thing to note is that your child will be hungry sooner these days, as explained above so be prepared to offer a meal a little bit sooner than usual.
It’s also a great opportunity to teach your kiddo about foods that fill you up.
For example you could say: “Candy is delicious but it doesn’t keep us full for long. What food do you think we should add to our candy snack next time?
A yogurt, a muffin, some crackers and cheese”… etc.
Helping your little one to become more mindful when they eat candy is a huge accomplishment. Something so many adults only wish their parents would have been aware of 20+ years ago.
It’s not an easy job, but I promise you your child will thank you in the years to come.
What questions do you have about meal times and candy?
Want even more tips? Read 3 more tips to lighten the candy load.