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Some thoughts from Tara and Henry…

The sugar fairy

Trick or treat! It’s that time of year again.  Halloween is just around the corner which means the sugar fairies across the world are preparing.

Just what are the sugar fairies you may ask?  Well at our house, a few days after Halloween, a sugar fairy arrives and takes a BIG chunk of our kids Halloween candy and delivers it to other kids who may have not gotten any. In exchange for this wonderful sharing by our children they get a little gift perhaps a book or small toy.

This tradition actually started the first year my son went trick or treating and it worked great. We decreased the candy without having to cajole or bargain.  She does leave a little bit behind (which often gets forgotten and ends up in the closet – only to be found next Halloween!) so we are not asking for complete sacrifice but it definitely helps.  We all know what refined sugar does to the body (and the mind).  Just go to any classroom the day after Halloween.  Excess sugar suppresses the immune system and causes issues with blood sugar balance which can lead to mood changes as well as changes in energy levels.  It also takes away from the consumption of good things. Many people after Halloween will send a “little” snack of 1 or 2 chocolate bars in their kids lunch.  What is this instead of? If you send them with an apple does the apple get eaten or did they fill up with the candy first.  I would suggest limiting the candy to times when you know what has been eaten first. Maybe save it for when they are home on the weekend or after school. Then you see that the apple has been eaten first. I am not saying to eliminate it completely (I do have children and understand the feelings of “being left out”).  If there is no other preexisting health concern except for the general need to minimize sugar, some candy (rarely) is tolerable.  That being said, daily consumption does not constitute rarely. Sugar is highly addictive and greatly contributes to childhood obesity.

Some people allow their kids to eat as much candy as they want after Halloween. They call it “Self-regulating”. This might work with older children because they recognize the connection between eating too much candy and feeling sick but with the younger ones that connection is not made. It might be recognized in the moment…”Mommy I had too much candy, I feel sick!”… but not remembered. When they feel better, they will eat it again. Be the parent and help them figure out what is an okay amount.

Now back to the sugar fairy. Since Henry is working with me we no longer have a worthy group to take the candy to (he definitely cannot bring it to work with him now!) so my sugar fairy is open to suggestions. Do you have any groups that would benefit from some extra candy? Maybe Henry can visit his old colleagues… or perhaps this year it will be donated to the trash!

Happy Halloween!

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