Let them Eat Candy

So I just got finished with volleyball and I was talking to one of the moms and she expressed her concern about her kids trick or treating and eating too much candy.  Not that I have any experience to back up giving advice on parenting but since she asked me for it I told her:

“Let your kid have the best day of their lives, best weekend in fact, and then next week they can be back to restricted candy”

This kind of goes along with my opinion about kids and movies.  I wrote about it in my piece Content, Content, Content. Kids are impressionable but sometimes we overdue it, we worry too much.  (Again, I know easy for me to say with no kids.  I get it!).

All I know is that I went for blocks trick or treating and got a pillowcase full of candy and so did most of my friends.  We ate tons of candy for a couple of days and then before too long our stash would be thrown out or given away.

But the memory of kid excess, imagination and fun, lasted.  In fact, by forcing the religion of clean eating on our children we can do more damage than a couple days of candy.  We make food too big a deal instead of simply a fun, silly part of life.  Instead of acknowledging it’s pleasurable qualities we demonize food and make a child feel guilty for something they should not feel guilty about.  It’s not good!

I really like how the Washington Post’s piece of the same name says it:

“It might be better to assume that, when it comes to candy — and much else — children are people, too. Instead of treating kids as fragile, helpless, stupid creatures who will perish if we don’t swaddle them in layers of social and emotional padding, we could treat them the way adults like to be treated: as intelligent beings with a strong drive for autonomy and respect.

Kids need our wisdom and our knowledge. They need to learn from us what good food looks and tastes like, and how to take care of their bodies. They need to understand media and advertising’s power to persuade and distort. But we should give them the freedom to learn to be themselves.”

I was totally that kid who needed to be respected and allowed to make my own choices whenever possible, so I relate to what she was saying.

Also, did you know the idea that sugar makes kids hyper is a myth? Science News said:

“Sugar doesn’t change kids’ behavior, a double-blind research study found way back in 1994. A sugary diet didn’t affect behavior or cognitive skills, the researchers report. Sugar does change one important thing, though: parents’ expectations. After hearing that their children had just consumed a big sugar fix, parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive, even when the big sugar fix was a placebo, another study found.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons not to feed your kids a bunch of sugar, but fear of a little crazed sugar monster isn’t one of them”.

So let your kids be kids.  Don’t try to give out dried fruit or something lame like that.  They will be ok.  Kids aren’t stupid.  They need their little moments of abandon and glee just like the rest of us but with a little nudging and encouragement that is a moment to remember not an everyday occurrence.


5 thoughts on “Let them Eat Candy

  1. Last year I had a conversation with a friend around Halloween. She asked if I took my daughter’s candy and limited how much she could have at a time, which affirmed that I did. Of course on Halloween I let her have several pieces, but after that I held on to it. She said she did the same with her kids, but we both realized our parents didn’t do that for us when we were kids. “Why do we do this” was the general sentiment.

    When I was a kid, I was allowed to have as much as I wanted till it was gone or only gross stuff was left. The real down side of hanging onto it and doling it out a little at a time is that it NEVER gets finished. I STILL HAVE A HER HALLOWEEN CANDY FROM LAST YEAR! In conclusion, I was dumb to ever take it. This year she’s stuffing her face with candy to her hearts content, and whatever is left on Monday is going in the trash! Though, last year she was 4, which is probably a little young for a candy free-for-all.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that. Isn’t it the truth? This fun thing becomes a source of conflict for the whole year. That’s not the Halloween spirit! 😉
      Can’t wait to see how your Halloween goes!

      1. Follow up: after day 2 or 3 all the “good stuff” was gone. She’s asked for candy maybe twice in the last week when she was really desperate for a sweet.

  2. I think life is about having a good balance, and this is just one of those things that’s important to be well-balanced in. Have a good diet, but enjoy treats here and there. Very good post, and I liked the quotes from that Washington Post article too.

    1. I agree. Live a full life and teach your kids how to create that balance . If they are constantly restricted than they never learn to restrict themselves and make correct choices.

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