This is a consideration for any event or holiday at which kids are given an excessive amount of candy, sweets, or junk food. However, it's on my mind since Halloween is coming up, and the amount of candy they get is going to be much greater than other occasions.
In previous years, I've let the kids keep all their candy but rationed how much they can eat every day. I hate this for a lot of reasons:
- It takes up a surprising amount of space in the pantry.
- There are fights over which bag belongs to who, and the "better" candy mysteriously moves from one bag to another.
- They take extra when I'm not in the kitchen.
Instead of learning self-control and reasonable portions, they learned to sneak.
Last year, their dentist had a "buy back" program, where they "sold" a pound of candy to the dentist for $1 (up to $5 per child), and got a toothbrush and some floss. What I found particularly funny was that I broke this took them weeks in advance, that I had a plan to get rid of the majority of their upcoming haul and they could have lots of candy Halloween night, but the next day we'd be trading it in. They didn't believe I would go through with it -- I pulled into the dentist's parking lot and my nine-year-old commented that I was really committed to this joke-- until we were actually in the dentist's office and they were handed a few bucks.
Unfortunately, the dentist's office isn't doing it this year.
I realize that every parent has their own definition of "too much," so I am not concerned with knowing exactly how many candy bars your kids are allowed at any given time -- just what happens when you have to deal with quantities far greater than normal. What are some strategies to avoid having a giant stash of candy in the house for weeks? How do you encourage your children to enjoy treats in moderation when an external situation -- holiday, school party, indulgent relatives -- is creating an opportunity for excess?