Super Why and Her Mama’s Candy Quandary
Amelia had a fun Halloween. We had an early dinner, visited our two closest neighbors and then went to a few more houses. We hit 5 houses total and she came home with a bucketful of candy to add to the candy she got the night before at the Elks party. Her grandma and grandpa and our friend Nicole gave her extra generous portions, so I’ll make sure we visit each of you right after she eats a healthy portion of that candy. Haha…just kidding, sort of.
The pictures below are from the Elks Club party, trick-or-treat from last night and one from this morning.
Honestly, what do we do with all this candy? I really don’t want her to eat all of it…even if we ration it out over a period of time. I certainly don’t want her to expect candy every day just because we have it and she’s too young for self-restraint. Lately, at almost every meal she asks about the food we eat and how it helps our bodies. She knows the difference between junk and good-for-you foods and so far, she’s happy and willing to make a choice to consume foods that fall into the latter category. Even when given a choice between something like a cookie and a fruit or veggie, she’ll often (but not always) choose the non-junk item. She and I cook and bake together and we have lots of opportunity to discuss food and our bodies. Artie and I don’t prohibit sweets or junk in the house, but we definitely try to show her how to balance her eating and to make the better choices.
But, when candy is a choice, all bets are off. She begs, argues and cries for just one more piece. She gets possessive and slightly obsessive about handling it and playing with it. And then, when she eats it, she acts like a crazy monster. I’ve read over and over that sugar doesn’t affect the behavior of children, that it’s just an old wives tale that sugar makes kids hyper and I’ve claimed that myself. But, up until recently, she’s had almost no candy (she’s only 3). Now that she’s had more opportunities to consume it, I’m quickly changing my mind. Honestly, she can’t sleep, she’s argumentative, angry and more apt to ignore my requests after eating the stuff. Makes me want to throw the whole bucket away right now.
Last year, she also collected candy for Halloween, and it was her first opportunity to eat candy. I think we gave her one or two pieces total and then we got rid of the rest (ok, we might have eaten some). But, she never noticed it was gone. We’ve done the same during other holidays as well. We put it up and once it’s out of sight, she quickly forgets about it. I think we can probably get away with it again this year, although she’ll probably ask about it for a longer period of time after, but it will be the last year we can do it. She already has a good memory and I don’t want to lie to her. I just want her to know that eating a bunch of candy isn’t good for her.
What do you do? Several people have said that she’s only a kid once and candy at Halloween is a tradition and don’t ruin it for her. I’ve read suggestions (Google is my friend) about using wrapped candy to teach toddlers to sort and count (but not eat). I’m not sure I’d get away with that lesson for very long. Some people give their children money, toys or special trip in exchange for their candy. Some donate it or give it away. I guess I’m leaning toward further discussion about why we shouldn’t eat all of it, or too much, paired with some sort of exchange. I want to teach her how to make the decision herself though, rather than bribe her with something else. Candy has become a part of most holidays now and she’s only a child for a short time before she will have to make those decisions for herself. We have the ability to make or change the traditions we follow and now is the time to start those traditions with Amelia. Artie and I will have to come up with a plan soon.
I’d be happy to hear how you handle the candy situation! In the meanwhile, don’t be alarmed if our candy suddenly disappears.