The temperature is dropping, leaves are falling and the Halloween decorations are out on display. Many kids are busy talking about what to dress up as, except for my 10 year old. He’s only in it for the candy and tries to get out of dressing up. Speaking of candy, how do we adults handle the mass quantities of sugar that fall into our kids’ laps on this magical holiday?
Chances are you will find many (MANY) opinions on candy for kids. We all keep hearing how bad sugar is for our health. It can lead to obesity, chronic illness, tooth decay, and even mental health issues. I do not disagree with those statements. However, there is also a mental connection to food that we must take into consideration. Feelings of deprivation are real. Have you ever tried a restrictive diet for a long period of time? What is the one food you crave? Likely it is the one you cut out. Then what happens when you decide to just have a little bit of that food? More often than not you end up binging on it because you feel like you will not be able to have it again. There is a great book on this topic called “Intuitive Eating”. Check out the book if you’d like here.
The same goes for kids and candy. If you overly restrict candy they are likely to binge at holidays like this or any other time they get their hands on it. What do we do? I’ll tell you what I have chosen. I used to try to limit how much candy my kids ate on the actual holiday. This backfired as they ended up hiding and sneaking more. So, I decided that on the holiday they could eat as much as they want. My son has often ended up with a stomachache. Then I hold on for the crazy sugar crash that happens well into the next day. Over the years he is learning to not eat as much on that night. Enter the hidden lesson of listening to your body cues.
After Halloween night they get to choose to keep all of their candy or they can give most of it up in exchange for a toy. We call it the Switch Witch. They keep about ¼ of their candy and leave the rest out for the Switch Witch to swap it out for a toy. My kids have loved this tradition. They get to choose what to keep and what to get rid of and know they still have treats available for later.
I have also heard of dentists that will pay kids by the pound for their candy. I’m sure there are many more ideas out there and I encourage you to find your own balance that works for you and your family. Good luck with this season of sugar!