Halloween is just around the corner, and with it, an influx of candy and sweets from parties, trick-or-treating, and other fun events. But do we really want all that candy to end up in in our children’s bellies?
Depending on your child’s age, there are a few different ways to help them understand how to limit their candy intake — and Halloween is the perfect time of year to talk to kids about healthy snack alternatives, consuming candy treats in moderation, and knowing what’s important when it comes to their health and well-being.
Here are a few things you can do to ease the candy consumption this Halloween:
For the toddlers: If your toddlers are going tricking-or-treating with parents or siblings, chances are they won’t be bringing home a ton of candy — they’ll be tired before they accumulate too much! The amount they do bring home from their door-to-door adventures can be kept in a jar (on top of the fridge or in a cupboard works well) where it won’t be seen each day. With the little ones, it’s much easier to try an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. If there are candies you are okay with your kiddos trying out, limit to after dinner as a special treat.
For school-aged children: As kids get a bit older, they know that candy is hiding in the cupboard and they can’t wait to get their hands on it. One fun way to rid your home of that candy is to have your kids choose a few favorite to eat (as desserts or as a small treat in their school lunch) and then have them “buy” a toy, book, or art supplies with the remaining candy. A few favorites may be eaten if desired, but then use the rest as “currency” to have your kid pick out something special. 50 pieces for a new book, or 25 for a little toy. Kids are all about bargaining!
For the teens: If your older kids have been helping the younger ones with their tricks and treats, of if they’ve been attending Halloween parties, they may be coming home with plenty of candy themselves. Keep an open dialogue about candy, eating healthy, and alternatives for snacking. Respecting a teen’s choices will empower them to be honest and reliable with their treats and snacks.
Other Tips for Helping with the Candy Influx
- Try to find a local program for donating candy — some areas will have donation spots available where the treats are then sent to troops overseas.
- Use the candy to play games with kids — counting, sorting, use them as game pieces, make art, or candy necklaces!
- Trade candies in for healthy and fun snacks like banana chips or pistachios!
- Be extra vigilant about all those teeth being brushed and cared for properly. Halloween does not have to mean a trip to the dentist!
Overall, I think keeping the lines of communication open about candy, well-being, and caring for their bodies goes a long way for helping kids have healthy attitudes about candy. Everything in moderation!