We’re getting closer to Halloween and fall festival activities and it’s a good time to revisit some tips on how best to manage your child’s candy intake during the time of ghosts and goblins.
On trick or treating day itself, plan ahead with some healthy food and healthy food for thought. First, feed your child a healthy meal before he or she begins collecting candies. A nutritious dinner will help offset the impact of all the sweets your child may wind up sampling, and can also make it less likely that your child will be tempted to eat a lot of candy that evening.
The pre-trick-or-treat meal is also a good occasion to remind your child about Halloween candy rules. The most important one is for your child to avoid eating any homemade snacks, or items that seem to be tampered with or unusual looking in any way. Depending on your child’s age, you may even want to require her or him to wait until they get home, before eating ANY candy.
Be certain that your child understands the importance of NOT eating anything unless it is a well-wrapped product and has been inspected by you personally. Unless you know exactly who has given your child a homemade product, throw it out to be safe.
Your child’s age, maturity and health will play a role in other rules you should establish for Halloween candy intake. A good general rule of thumb for most children is to create a plan for the amount of candy to eat each day. Start with a specific number for Trick or Treat Day and allow a limited number each day in the time that follows. You may want to use candy collection as a teachable moment. Help young children learn how to count and categorize the types of candy they’ve collected. Consider letting slightly older children understand the value of money, by allowing them to sell back some of their candy in order to help purchase a desired toy or item they are saving for.
If your child is overweight, has allergies, or may be prone to overeating, it can be especially important to develop specific plans for Halloween candy, that may include removal of temptation. In these cases, allow your child a few healthy treats at agreed upon times and circumstances, but don’t let him or her to maintain control of their haul.