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too many sweets

Do you deprive your kids of candy?

To celebrate the end of the school year, my 7 year old’s teacher had the kids complete the second half of a little booklet. The idea was to show the kids how much their writing had improved over the course of the school year.

My daughter showed me the booklet and had a good laugh about how bad her spelling used to be. I, on the other hand, couldn’t move past the topic she chose to write about.

Candy deprivation. Hmm…

We’ve discussed the kids frustrations on this particular topic several times over the last few months so I shouldn’t really have been surprised. But reading a person’s thoughts and feelings on paper (especially when that said person is your young child) makes it feel more personal. You know?

junk food

It made me realize how much she thinks about this on a daily basis.

There is something else I learned. My daughter is the only person in her class who has never tried Jello. When she told me this I thought I’d point out to her that she couldn’t possibly know this to be fact, unless she had asked each person in the class individually (which I figured was highly unlikely).

My bad.

Apparently, the teacher had asked the class to raise their hands if they had tried Jello and it turns out; she was the only one in the class who didn’t raise her hand. She wasn’t too happy about this.

My five year old shares his sister’s sentiments. He complains (often) that other kids in the class bring candy to school everyday and that it’s not fair that he is never allowed to eat some of the things they bring on a daily basis (e.g. fruit by the foot). My fifteen year old had the same complaint when she was a 1st grader. Some things just don’t change!

He recently wanted to save (and not eat) his gourmet jelly beans (made with no artificial colours or preservatives) for his lunch box so that he could show his friends at school that he’s just like them and that mummy gives him candy too! Sigh.

My childhood and the local sweet shop

I have some wonderful childhood memories that include visits to the local sweet shop. Some of my favourite sweets were cola cubes and flying saucers. Anyone remember these?

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I don’t want my kids to feel deprived. At the same time, it’s important to me that I teach them to eat real food.

Our solution

I announced this week that the kids were old enough to receive a weekly allowance ($1.25) and that they can use this allowance to try some of the things they are always begging me to buy for them. Needless to say, they were really excited at the prospect. My five year old had a serious question regarding the arrangement: Would I be allowed to say no to their choices? (!!!)

I may regret my decision, but I am hoping that it will be a good learning experience for them:

1. Some of the things they’d like to try costs up to $3 so they’ll have to learn to save for it, or do without.

2. I’m also hoping they figure out that some of the really “icky” candy isn’t all that great close up. My five year old had a ring pop once that was given to him by a relative. It created small blisters in his mouth and he wasn’t a happy camper.

This gives me hope.

I’d love to hear how you deal with these kinds of issues. Feel free to share your stories in the comments :)

Post photo credit: Paul Townsend

Your Comments

3 comments… add one

  • josephine January 24, 2016, 10:59 pm

    most of our children are quite happy to avoid candy, eat well and avoid chemical food, in part because i was very direct in explaining the dire consequences of eating industrial food products that would make them sick. and like you i made a lot of effort to find ways as a widowed mother to provide yummy healthy safe food for my five children.
    fortunately our very diverse neighborhood creates access to many recipes and food cultures, and ingredients from global imports that diversify our local choices. b
    But is also hard to find out what chemical or toxins are in the food from so many other countries and regions – whether it’s grown/produced under agri-chemical industrial control or more sustainable/traditional conditions. there is a lot of candy from everywhere as well –
    in a way because we were poor it was easier to deny them as a waste of money needed for real food. I taught my children to think about what they were eating and where it from I am relieved to say that other then halloween, for a day or two none of the 11 children/grandchildren in our blended family craves candy or pop.
    My mother discovered i was sensitive to chemicals like sodium benzoate and msg when i was very young and i am forever grateful for her insight and what she and i learned about choosing our food and drink wisely as a result.
    I have tried to look into it but can only apply what i know of various continental and regional geo-politics combined with where i know the land is overburdened with toxins or gmo crops to frame how i choose among the beans spices grains, honeys, flours vegetables fruit drinks coconut products. It is mostly a mystery in what conditions these groceries are being made and transported and all i can do is wish that we can become a civilization capable of choosing life and sustainability over the power of greed.
    Learning that candy made me sick as a child is one reason i have been examining the why hows and causes of a system that profits from feeding children artificial and toxic substances. As a mother these issues have first of mind for a long time and because of this i have dedicated much of my career as a human rights organize to healthy food security, we are building a community food co-op project, time bank and websites. We have been needing practical accessible web content, as the need for practical knowledge about real food grows urgent due to climate chaos and rising food costs -i have found you just in time, as we work on building our OASIS bio food dome project with a small team i was worried about finding the time to write, find and produce content like yours, instead we can promote your work on our site and widen the conversation.
    I am deeply grateful for you and your website for making it easy to inform my family and co-op community with so many useful and wise articles sharing your knowledge, experience, methods and recipes for family health happiness and resilience…similar in many ways to my own, you have saved me a lot of precious time and helped to relieve my conscience…
    bless you and thank-you for all you do,
    Josephine,
    LIFT/OASIS project leader
    St James Town.

  • Carrie @ Saving In Ottawa August 31, 2014, 9:27 am

    Hi Saida – I’ve just stumbled onto your blog – and it’s wonderful!

    My parents used to let my sisters and I have whatever candy/junkfood we wanted – and 90% off the time we would gorge ourselves to the point of bellyaches – and we would never want to touch it again.

    I am not so liberal. I let my kids pick one candy each month – right now one has selected ‘Gushers’ (chewy candy filled with juice) and the other a small bag of chocolate cover raisins. They can have them when appropriate as a snack but when it’s gone, its gone. They can’t sit down and eat the box – we follow the servings on the package, but will adjust if it’s too large (so I’m not always the party-pooper) and that’s it. One will have it gone within 10 days – the other can stretch it out to almost the month’s end.

    • saida September 1, 2014, 11:53 pm

      I found that once a week proved to be a bit much for the long term! I let them know (just a few days ago) that the rule was changing to once in awhile now that Summer holidays were coming to an end.
      I’m glad we did it though because letting them try the different candy made them feel less deprived and they actually don’t mind the change to once in awhile :) I guess they know now that they’re not missing much! A few times my daughter had these choice words to say about the candy she picked out ” I can’t believe kids eat this everyday. It doesn’t even taste good!”

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