How to Help Kids Regulate Halloween Candy Intake
For more tips on regulating Halloween candy, listen to our podcast episode How to Moderate Halloween Candy.
Kids love to dress up but of course, but I think what they love most about Halloween is getting all that candy! I know that was my favorite part!! But this is just another area of anxiety for us parents who don’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud but also understand that our kids are getting less recess and active time than we used to and that obesity has been on the rise among kids. We hear conflicting messages, controlling too much makes kids want junk more, kids aren’t developed enough to have self-control and don’t understand the short or long term consequences of an unhealthy diet!
Our kids consume around 5% of their yearly candy consumption from their Halloween haul. Depending how long it takes your kids to work through their stash, that may seem like a lot of candy in a short period. But when you think about the flip side, 95% of candy is consumed during other parts of the year. Research shows just this, that throughout the year, kids are snacking more and more regularly on…yep, you guessed it!…candy! In the long-run, this is a much more bigger problem that should be addressed. So if you are concerned about sugar and candy consumption, there’s a whole lot of room in other parts of the year to work on teaching moderation around sweets that will have a much bigger impact.
Research also shows that girls who are restricted with sweets, eat more when they have the chance and grow up to be more overweight than girls who are given the opportunity to eat a moderate amount of sweets on a regular basis.
Other research reports that babies are born with the ability to self-regulate their food intake, even with sweeter foods, not that we are giving babies candy, at least I hope not! So the goal then is to help our babies, toddlers and kids keep that ability as they age. So we want to TEACH our kids how to listen to their body cues for fullness and hunger.
When parents restrict candy too much, they can unknowingly teach kids 3 lessons they don’t want to teach.
Candy Has Power Setting up a trade for candy in exchange something else, like a special outing or toy, teaches kids that candy has power. kids and adults alike seek out items with power, think money! Money equals power. This strategy turns candy into money. Not only that, it doesn’t teach kids anything about how to moderate their own candy consumption.
You Should Feel Guilty When You Eat Candy Nagging, harping, or lectures about not eating too much candy or showing kids pictures of decayed teeth that have rotted from eating too much candy can do a great job producing guilt, which just backfires when it comes to learning how to self-regulate.
You Can’t Be Trusted with Candy! When we try to regulate too closely, we teach our kids they can’t be trusted to know when to stop. Am I advocating allowing kids to eat whatever they want whenever they want? No, of course not! Just like everything in parenting, teaching kids how to self regulate is a process that takes time. So we want to take these opportunities that we have now to help them learn how to connect with their bodies.
To learn the recommended steps to helping kids through this process, you can listen to the podcast episode on How to Help Kids Moderate Halloween Candy.