Fill those candy bags, October is here! The month every kid across the land dreams could take place every day, and the only day when dressing up and eating gobs of candy is not only allowed but encouraged. Now, that's a good deal for a kid. But what if you're a parent? Everyone knows healthy snacks are the way to go every other day of the year that is not Halloween, so how do you give in a bit and let your children enjoy the festivities while keeping these healthy habits top of mind? Here are five teeth-friendly habits that'll ensure you're still communicating the right message.
Divvy it up: One solution is to partition out a child's candy throughout the month so it's still seen as a treat instead of something to gorge on over the course of a single week. Since candy has a notoriously long shelf-life feel free to stretch it out as long as you can.
Make a game out of it: Another tip that can work is to use candy as if it were winnings for a certain school challenge, or maybe even in games the family plays together. To make this work, you'll have to get your child to agree ahead of time to the arrangement, but the deal can be a sweet one for them and you. This way, at game time, instead of $5 in Monopoly® money, someone might earn a Snicker's® Bar!
Let your kids play tricks on you: This is another twist on trading out the candy for another time, and it's a way to allow the “trick” in “trick or treat” to last for months on end. Since most kids really don't do much with the “trick” aspect of Halloween, challenge them to come up with creative and safe ways to trick you or other family members in order to earn the candy back as a reward. Your kids can take this as far as their creativity will allow, and your nerves will handle.
Barter: Adults love a candy jar at work (shhhh …. !), and children of all ages love a good trade. Offer to trade a bunch of that candy for something else they'd rather have in exchange. This one shouldn't be that hard really, because after a while everyone gets rather tired of what's left in the “trick or treat” bag, and this is one way to replace that cavity-inducing candy with something (hopefully!) more rewarding.
Put some cash in their piggy bank: Every kid loves the feeling of looking at a full piggy bank, especially when they become lender to your late night pizza ordering runs. So, why not have a candy “buy-back” where you offer them money in exchange for a portion of the candy they’re hoarding? Trust us, in the long run, it will be cheaper for you than fixing their teeth.
The goal should be to let them enjoy Halloween, and to show them how to make the enjoyment of the day last beyond its initial weekend. If you make the agreement with your children ahead of time how the candy is going to be handled, you'll have little problems moving forward, and in this way, everyone wins.