It's their candy but you want it out of their hands and into yours. So how can a parent tactfully regulate and restrict how much candy a kid eats without looking like the big green Grinch who stole Halloween? It can take a little witchly magic but it is possible. Kids are pretty smart but parents over time learn how to outwit them. It just takes a little subtle sneakiness.
Yeah, it is that wonderfully sticky sweet time of year again. Time for children to roam the neighbourhood streets acquiring all kinds of wonderfully sugar laden treats to eat. They generally arrive back home tired, excited, and more than a little anxious to dig into their treat bags and all that newly acquired candy.
When the children arrive back home and before they consume any treats this is your big opportunity to say "Okay, let's make sure that the candy is safe." Usually the kids will agree with you which means that you actually get permission to help sift through their candy. This means that you have officially gotten your hands INTO their Halloween treat bag.
Have each child dump their candy into a pile on the floor. Sort through their pile to insure that all the wrappers are intact, fruit is confiscated, and that all candies look safe for consumption. Discard anything that may have been tampered with or that just does not look safe. Keep in mind that you still have permission to touch their candy as they have not as of yet revoked your access to it. This means that you still have the opportunity to get a little more of that candy out of their hands and into yours. It is important here to note that kids don't like to part with their sweet treasure!
I had to walk for blocks.
Uh uh you can't have it.
It is mine. I am not giving up my candy.
I had to work hard to get it.
I was tired.
It was cold outside and that bag was heavy.
The candy is mine and you can't have it. Mine! Mine! Mine!
No problem, we are sneaky enough to handle this. Have each child sort their candy into categories or piles so that you can see exactly what kind of haul they have made this year. Have them make individual piles for chocolate bars, chips, bubble gum, candy, and items that they do not like.
There are a few reasons for doing this. Reason number one is to keep the kids occupied as they are likely to eat less of the candy if they are busy thinking about sorting and categorizing it.
Reason number two: This sorting is part of a much more devious plot on your part to limit the amount of candy that they consume.
Reason number three: To children their candy is treasure and sorting through it is almost as satisfying to them as is consuming it. Once the piles are all sorted and they have been able to examine exactly how much candy they have managed to acquire, ask if you may have the pile of candy that they do not like as they won't eat it anyway. Usually the kids will be very willing to hand the disliked candy pile over to you without much complaint.
It is actually a very important conquest on your part because otherwise these candies would eventually be traded with other kids for a more preferred candy. It is a few less candies in their tummies and this confiscated candy is now yours to do with as you please. Gobble it down or pop it into a candy jar for future use. Enjoy.
It doesn't have to get ugly getting the sweets out of their hands and into yours but without some degree of devious behaviour and a heavy dose of respect it can be. The pile of items that they do not like and the unsafe candy are likely the most easily acquirable items on Halloween night. But squash any worries, there are sneaky ways to get that candy out of the kid's treat bag and into your possession.
To restrict their candy intake further on this first night let them know that excluding the bubblegum they will be allowed to eat two items from each of the piles that they have sorted. This first limit usually goes over pretty easily because it is generally getting late by now and almost time for them to prepare for bed but now comes the difficult part. You must not let them take their bag of candy to the bedroom with them. You must confiscate the bag.
Storing the treat bags is most easily done by placing them in a visible location but one that is out of their reach. By keeping it visible the child knows that it is still there and not spirited away by the other siblings. The top of the tall shelf or up on the fridge top are generally good spots. Once you have the Halloween candy in your grasp the doling out is easy. You are the only one who can reach the candy. (Hee hee hee she cackles like an old witch.)
Set Out a Distinct set of Rules:
After school is over for the day have them choose two to five candies for an after school snack and two to five for their after supper snack. Allow each child each morning to pick a couple peanut free items to take in their school lunch. Of course it is at your discretion to choose any select times that you wish to dole out the candy to your munchkins. At this point you should now have gained almost full control of the Halloween candy and the kids are usually willing participants in having you put the treats up after each use to insure its safety. Every now and then give them full access to the treat bag as this reassures them that all their loot is still there and that it is still accessible to them.
With a little luck the candy should be gone by Christmas or perhaps Easter if your child eats it super slow. With a little parental cunning you won't ever have to play the Grinch at Halloween again.
2) Buy or trade for the occasional candy item from them. This reduces their stash and the nickel or dime used to purchase the item can go into the child's piggy bank.
3) Have the kids agree to give some of the candy to grandma and grandpa or another favourite relative. After all Grandma and Grandpa are too old to go trick or treating but they still like candy too. Let the children select out a set number of pieces each to be given away.
4) Have them re-sort their candy each night into piles and then pick two items from each pile as their evening snack. Remember that just seeing and touching their candy is almost as satisfying as eating it. It is their treasure trove and this game is very visually satisfying.
Related Articles by Lorelei Cohen