Written by: Nanny Secours
Do you have little ones with a sweet tooth? Are you able to control their sugar intake? How do they react when you refuse to buy chocolate, candies or soft drinks? (Children will rarely show indifference when it comes to refusals like these.)
Determine the amount and timing for sugary sweets. These foods should be consumed sparingly. A balanced approach consists of reserving sweet treats for special occasions, such as Christmas, Halloween, birthday parties or special events. Remember: special events are “special” because they do not occur regularly.
Give your children clear guidelines! There’s nothing like setting out expectations from the beginning. For example, before walking into room full of sweet delights, it is important that children receive instructions on whether or not they can eat sweets. If yes, be clear about the amount they can eat.
“You are angry because you would have liked to eat candy. I understand. These candies do taste good. If you like, I’ll let you eat some next time we go to the movies.";
2-ignore the child’s outburst:
Your child is responding to the limits you've placed, and that's completely normal. The more constant you are at applying your own rules, the less he will respond. Equally important is not attempting to reason with him; instead, distance yourself from the child’s behaviour. The less attention you give him, and the shorter the angry outburst is;
3-continue with your daily routine:
As you begin to recognize your child’s feelings and distance yourself from his display of anger, you also start to feel it’s time to stay connected with your enthusiasm. There is no need to stay close to your child. When he seems to calm down, invite him to join you;
4-use positive reinforcement:
As the situation settles down, take time ― without over doing it ― to acknowledge the effort your child puts into calming down on his own. For example, you could bend down to his level, speak softly to him and give him a wink of encouragement: “Congratulations honey! You calmed down alone. You are becoming really good at it! Good job!”
Observe your child:
If the outbursts become a recurrent problem, an observation exercise (in French only) could be useful for gaining insights into the reasons for your child to continue behaving that way. You may also want to review the above helpful tips to ensure their successful implementation.
Teach your children to be responsible:
As your child grows up, you can get him to learn how to manage sugar intake. Teach him to set limits on the quantity (e.g. “What do you think would be a reasonable quantity for tonight?”)
It is recommended not to hide foods around the house in order to prevent children from considering these items prohibited, and thus more appetizing. However, it is an illusion to think that children can control their consumption pattern independently and resist the temptation of sweets.
That's why I would urge you, as parents, to reserve these sugary delights for only very special occasions; by the same token, this will teach your child how to make healthy food choices.
The idea is not to call for a ban of unhealthy sweets but to supervise children in their consumption for the entire family's well-being.