Did your house experience a sudden influx of sugar yesterday? Ours sure did. To add to it, we had very few trick-or-treaters, so we have leftover candy in addition to the haul my son brought home. While it might be a natural reaction to want to control your child’s candy, research shows that this approach backfires. In fact, studies show that children who are restricted from candy will eat MORE than normal when given a chance.
Even if you have concerns about your child’s weight, Halloween is a favorite holiday of many children, and attaching weight-based shame to it takes the joy out of what should be fun. Imagine if someone shamed you out of Christmas cookies or Thanksgiving pumpkin pie! Instead, let Halloween candy be a learning experience that can help your child develop a healthy relationship with sweets which can last a lifetime.
Watch your words. Try to avoid telling your child that candy is “bad” for them or will make then fat (as difficult as this might seem). Watch negative comments you might make about yourself and candy—your children have ears! Instead, try to act in a neutral way about candy. It’s not forbidden, and there’s nothing special about it either.
Stay calm and neutral. Most children come home from trick or treating excited to examine their loot. While it can be extremely hard as a health-conscious parent to let your child dive right into the candy, Halloween is a great opportunity for kids to learn how to self-regulate and trust themselves around food. Let them eat whatever/how much they for a day or two. After that, let your child then select one or two pieces at meal or snack time.
Wait it Out. By taking a "it's just candy--it's not a big deal" attitude, you might find that the allure of the candy goes away after a few days. At our house, we often end up throwing it away after a few weeks because it has been forgotten and has gone stale!