6 Strategies for Kids’ Halloween Candy Consumption. No arguing required.

You know what job is really the pits? The Candy Police. You know what’s worse? The emotional roller coaster of a kid high on Fun Dip.

I used to get really nutso about limiting my kids Halloween candy intake and then I realized I liked not arguing way better. In theory, none of these strategies I’m about to offer involve arguing. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

#1 No Limits

When I was 10 years old, my mom worked for Post Cereals. Needless to say, I was very popular in school. We had Honey-Combs, Alphabits and Fruity Pebbles coming out our ears and my mom let us eat as much as we wanted. Guess what? We got sick of it and to this day, I’m not a big fan of sugary cereals. Let the kids gorge on Halloween candy and learn their own lessons of moderation. This might actually take a couple years, but that’s ok. Better to discover healthy limits now in adolescence rather than in college (“freshman 15”, binge drinking and all the other fun choices young adults face.)

#2 Kids Set the Limits

Ok, if you’re not comfortable with the “no limits” thing, try letting the kids decide how much, per day, is a fair amount to consume. This is a great lesson in helping kids communicate and negotiate their point of view. It’s also a great way to avoid being up all night with a kid who’s stomach feels like Sigourney Weaver in Alien.

This solution also allows kids to feel more in control of the outcome rather than receiving a candy limit mandate from you. Once you’ve agreed on an appropriate number of pieces allowable per day, have your child baggie up the daily allotment and boom, done. One baggie per day until you’ve thrown out what they can’t remember having.

#3 Candy Buy Back

The only thing better than candy is cold, hard cash. Many dentists’ office offer a Candy Buy Back program where they pay kids $1 per pound of candy. Call your local dentist’s office and see if they are participating!

#4 Offer Trades

How much are five Kit Kats worth? A trip to the park? An outing for ice cream? An extra 15 minutes of screen time? Everything has a price. Find your kids’ currency and offer some healthy trades. Then throw away the candy! Do not eat it yourself!

#5 The Switch Witch

Have you heard about the Switch Witch? In our family, we have food allergies and trick-or-treating is awesome and all, but not being able to enjoy it can feel pretty crummy. After bedtime, the Switch Witch swaps out the candy they can’t have for a toy or family experience. Each witch is unique to your family’s needs and wishes and my kids really look forward to it.

#5 Donate It

With your help, Operation Gratitude is really excited about another great year of collecting and donating sweet treats to the troops! Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Visit their website for instruction on how and where to donate.

Stay tuned for my next article titled, “Just Say No: A Parent’s Guide to Not Eating All the Discarded Almond Joys.” Happy Halloween!

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