It’s Halloween season, which means your house is about to be filled with candy. This is a fun time of year for children, but it can be a nightmare for parents. Not only do you have to find time to get/make a costume and take your child trick-or-treating, but you also have to deal with the candy consumption that follows.
To prevent candy temper tantrums (and make your life a little easier), follow these Halloween parenting tips from Heron Ridge Associates.
Set the Rules ahead of Time
It’s important to set the rules about candy well before Halloween. For the full week prior to Halloween, make sure your children know that they cannot eat all their candy that night. You may allow them to have a few pieces on Halloween day, but the rest should be distributed over the course of several days. You can create rules that are appropriate for your children’s ages.
Enforce Those Rules as a Team
You and your partner need to be on the same page about Halloween candy rules. If you are co-parenting, make sure the other parent knows about the rules as well. Stand firm about the rules no matter what. If your children complain, remind them about the discussions you had before Halloween. They may not like being told no, but they will be more compliant this way.
Create a system to hold each person accountable. In other words, don’t just trust that your children will eat X amount of candy per day. Put the candy in a place that your children cannot access, and get it down only at certain times. You could also count the candy in each child’s basket, but that may not be necessary. As long as you have a way to truly enforce the rules, you can minimize the risk of candy temper tantrums.
Plan Candy Eating at Logical Times
If you allow your children to have a certain amount of candy each day, make sure they consume it at any appropriate time. For instance, you would not want them eating candy first thing in the morning or before a meal. Instead, the candy could be used as an after-school snack. This gives your children a chance to burn off the sugar rush before bed. If your children are going to eat candy after dinner, make sure it is well before bed. Abide by these guidelines as a household so no one feels excluded from the fun.
Establish Consequences for Breaking the Rules
If your child breaks the rules, there needs to be a consequence for that. This may be a separate consequence for this specific event, or it may follow the discipline you normally use. Example: if your child eats more candy than he or she is allowed to, you may take away the candy for 24 hours. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to. You could also limit video game or tablet time, in compliance with normal household operations.
If the candy becomes a constant source of dispute, tell your child that you are donating it to the food shelter. Take your kid with you if need be to emphasize your point. Whatever you decide, stick with your gut instinct. Parenting is tough no matter what. This is just another hurdle you can and will get through.
If you would like more parenting advice or help improving your family dynamic, contact Heron Ridge Associates. We have family counselors in Michigan who would be happy to assist you.