You know what job is really the pits? The Candy Police. You know what’s worse? The emotional roller coaster of a kid high on Fun Dip.
I used to get really nutso about limiting my kids Halloween candy intake and then I realized I liked not arguing way better. In theory, none of these strategies I’m about to offer involve arguing. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
#1 No Limits
When I was 10 years old, my mom worked for Post Cereals. Needless to say, I was very popular in school. We had Honey-Combs, Alphabits and Fruity Pebbles coming out our ears and my mom let us eat as much as we wanted. Guess what? We got sick of it and to this day, I’m not a big fan of sugary cereals. Let the kids gorge on Halloween candy and learn their own lessons of moderation. This might actually take a couple years, but that’s ok. Better to discover healthy limits now in adolescence rather than in college (“freshman 15”, binge drinking and all the other fun choices young adults face.)
#2 Kids Set the Limits
Ok, if you’re not comfortable with the “no limits” thing, try letting the kids decide how much, per day, is a fair amount to consume. This is a great lesson in helping kids communicate and negotiate their point of view. It’s also a great way to avoid being up all night with a kid who’s stomach feels like Sigourney Weaver in Alien.
This solution also allows kids to feel more in control of the outcome rather than receiving a candy limit mandate from you. Once you’ve agreed on an appropriate number of pieces allowable per day, have your child baggie up the daily allotment and boom, done. One baggie per day until you’ve thrown out what they can’t remember having.
#3 Candy Buy Back
The only thing better than candy is cold, hard cash. Many dentists’ office offer a Candy Buy Back program where they pay kids $1 per pound of candy. Call your local dentist’s office and see if they are participating!
#4 Offer Trades
How much are five Kit Kats worth? A trip to the park? An outing for ice cream? An extra 15 minutes of screen time? Everything has a price. Find your kids’ currency and offer some healthy trades. Then throw away the candy! Do not eat it yourself!
#5 Donate It
You know who can’t trick-or-treat? The men and women of our armed services—but your kids can help them out! Talk to your kids about donating to Pease Greeters who send weekly care packages to our troops overseas. All candy should be wrapped and in its original packaging. Don’t worry if it’s a small donation, every little bit helps! For a full listing of acceptable donations and drop off locations, visit peasegreeters.org or call (603) 828-6444.
Stay tuned for my next article titled, “Just Say No: A Parent’s Guide to Not Eating All the Discarded Almond Joys.” Happy Halloween!