It can be a little bit tricky to modify your child’s candy intake sometimes. Like most things that involve your kids, you might need to use just a little bit of creativity to find the most successful methods. Here are a few ways to make saying “no” at the checkout line something you can check off the grocery list:
Make it a project. You might be surprised at how interesting hummus or bananas become if you create a project that involves your kids surrounding these healthier food alternatives. Children are much more likely to take an interest in fruits and vegetables, which can easily be substituted for sugar at snack time, if they’ve been involved in a process that made the snacks. Homemade hummus, banana-sicles, and muffins infused with fruits and vegetables are all easy do-at-home projects that will involve the kids and introduce them to healthier, lower-sugar alternatives for snacks.
Open your mind. If you hear the words “Vegan” or “gluten-free”, and you want to run the other way, stop for a moment, and open your mind. These days, Vegan and gluten-free products are made to be flavorful while still sticking to their healthy origins. Companies like fluffpop and So Delicious Dairy Free have put a lot of work (and love) into creating tasty treats that still abide by the concept of healthier treats
Be diplomatic. Sure, as the parent, you have the last word when it comes to rules and regulations, but you might be surprised at how well your kids respond if you include them in the process. If you’ve decided that it’s time to curb sugar consumption, sit your kids down and tell them this. If they’re old enough, have them think of a few ways that they think would be fair when it comes to curbing consumption, and ways that would still be attainable. You might be surprised to see what kind of positive reactions come from your kids when you need to enforce a policy that they were involved in creating.
Be an example. Remember, kids pay attention to almost everything that the adults do and say around the house, and a lot of times, actions speak louder than words. Be an example to your children by showing them what habits you expect from them. If you always have a soda next to you at dinner time while you’re telling them they have to drink milk, they’ll more than likely pick up on the mixed messages, and it might eventually make it harder to come across like an authority figure who knows best about their nutritional needs.
Keep them busy. It might seem obvious when you stop and think about it, but sometimes the most obvious ideas are also the most often overlooked thoughts. If the kids are sitting around, bored, playing video games, or being overall static in their daily lives, they’re more likely to get cravings for food and sugary substances. When you keep them actively engaged, whether they’re in social activities, age-appropriate sports, games, or just every day conversation, you’re keeping their minds occupied and keeping them busy. Along the way, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to promote healthy living through physical activities and opening up the lines for communication about nutrition and other subjects as you conversations become commonplace in your home.
Give them access to the sugary stuff. This is another counter-intuitive idea. When you’re making a big deal about candy’s evil ways, you’re actually making it more desirable to lots of kids. We all had something that we weren’t allowed to have when we were kids. So what did we spend our time doing? Most of us remember how much of our time was spent plotting ways to do, say, or obtain the things that were otherwise forbidden. Your kids are no different in this respect than you were. As such, consider taking away the idea that candy is an evil thing that they shouldn’t have access to, and allow them to be around it as a natural part of every day life. Doing so tends to remove the feeling that kids get when they know they only have access to something for a short time (in other words, they’ll be much less likely to hoard the candy and shove it by handfuls into their mouths if it’s something that they have access to whenever). You’ll probably be surprised at how little you have to monitor your kids when the novelty of the candy is removed.
Sometimes a little creativity can go a long way, particularly when it comes to keeping your kids operating at their healthiest. The check-out line doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Give these tricks a try, and if you have other suggestions, we’d love to hear about them at our Facebook page!