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.