Sugar season is upon us. That time of year when our gleeful children will be bombarded with sweets, upping blood sugar levels and dropping immunity just in time for flu season.
It started last week with a bang – Halloween. If your home is like ours, you are swimming in candy right now. So what’s the best way to handle it? This is what I’ve found.
The best way to manage halloween candy
The best solution is to not manage it at all. Let the kids deal with it. Continue to serve healthful meals, bake less and put the children in charge of their 852 pellets of corn syrup and yellow #5. They will probably forget about it or even get sick of it.
2 circumstances in which this will not work
- Your kids don’t forget about candy. The more they eat, the more they want. And they plan to eat it. All. All nineteen Skittles packs, 8 Hershey’s bars including 3 of the cookies & cream variety (ugh), 12 Reeses, 11 Snickers bars, a Take Five (what’s that mom?) and everything in between.
- Your children do not handle sugar well. It affects either their behavior or their health, making them susceptible to illness. In this case, it’s our responsibility to step in. Sugar makes one of my children susceptible to colds, mouth ulcers and eczema. Another child tends to get colds which often result in a chronic cough.
Second best way to handle candy (how we do it)
Freedom within boundaries. We set up an environment where the kids are in control, but within reason.
1) Figure out how many pieces of candy you are comfortable with them keeping. At our house, they can indulge a little Halloween night (unless they are on the verge of getting a cold). Then they pick 28 pieces to keep. This is a number that we all agreed on a few years ago and it has stuck. The way I look at it, it’s about two pieces a day for two weeks.
2) Put them in charge. After they’ve picked their 28, they can do whatever they want. They can eat it all in one night or spread it out for a month. Usually they end up having 2-3 pieces a day. I can handle that. I just ask that they don’t eat it before school, or eat more than one piece before bed. They keep it in their rooms or in the pantry. My son recently started storing it in the pantry because he doesn’t want to be tempted by it when he’s hanging out in his room – self management. Bravo!
I love not being asked constantly “can I have a piece of candy now?” and going through the battle every day. It gives me more energy to get simple healthy meals on the table. And I actually have fun watching them explore the various artificial flavor explosions that my adult palate finds so boring now.
How do you handle candy in your house? I’d love to hear!
Photo Credit (Edited): Ray Lopez