My child is 7 years old so well aware of trick or treat. I don’t want to be a killjoy but how do I manage the situation.
Thanks for your question. This is something which many parents are concerned about. While Halloween can be a lot of fun, children inevitably end up with lots of sweets and unhealthy treats. The best way to deal with this is to establish some norms at the outset. So, for example, before your child goes out trick or treating, have a chat with them and explain that they can collect all the goodies but that when they get home, they’ll need to pick two treats to eat and the other treats will be saved but that they can choose two more treats the next day, etc. (It doesn’t have to be two, it might just be one treat, but hopefully you get the idea). Then, keep the treats safely out of the way. If you child asks for them the next day, stick to the deal and let them choose two treats but if they forget to ask, there’s no need to remind them. This way, the treats will be spread out over time (& parents might even be able to enjoy one or two!).
With younger children, I’d encourage parents to do the same (allow them one-two treats on Halloween) but then to pre-portion treats on other days, and to offer one/two treats when the child asks, rather than getting them all out and letting the child choose. With a 7-year-old, they will appreciate the element of choice.
It’s important that these foods aren’t completely restricted or forbidden as this can make children want them all the more. You can find out more about this on our website: http://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/common-feeding-pitfalls/restriction
Dr Emma Haycraft is a senior member of the the child feeding research team and a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Loughborough University she is a co-creator of the Child Feeding Guide
Jill Wheatcroft is a Lecturer in Child Health and is co-founder and Director of Training at Riverside Cares. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org://www.riversidecares.co.uk