Last year was the first year we had both kids in school. It was a big change for sure! Having gone through it once before, we were able to anticipate and prepare for a lot of things: drop-offs and pick-ups, class activities, different schedules, etc. But what we weren’t prepared for was ALL THE CANDY. ALL YEAR LONG.
From class treasure boxes to holiday treats, we had a constant flow of candy coming through the house. Now don’t get me wrong–candy and treats are fun and should totally be enjoyed in moderation. That’s part of the fun of childhood, right?! But at the same time, we needed to come up with a plan for managing all of that sugar.
Here are 3 things we implemented last year that worked well for us (and their teeth!):
First things first. When kids have access to healthy snacks, they’re less likely to try to fill up on empty calories. Whole fruits, vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheese, nuts/nut or seed butter, and whole grain crackers are great snack time choices to fuel their growing bodies. Differentiate between snacks and treats, so they learn to make healthy food choices while still enjoying the occasional treat. Check out this post for some back-to-school snack ideas you might find yourself stealing!
When it comes to candy, we’re not the only ones who enjoy it. The bacteria in our mouths feed on the film sugar leaves behind on our teeth, which results in plaque. The real problem comes when plaque, which contains acids, begins to weaken and erode tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Setting limits on access and amounts of candy is super helpful here. When the kids come home with bags of candy from the class Halloween/holiday party (in addition to their trick-or-treating stash!) decide how much and how often they’ll have access to their candy. We generally allow our kids to choose 1-2 pieces of candy a day for a limited amount of time (maybe a week or two after a party, event, etc.). Communicate with them about what the limits are, and why. This will help to get them on board and cut down on those candy negotiation sneak attacks.
Reduce & Repurpose
After Halloween last year, I saw a Facebook post from my friend, Dana. She had a BRILLIANT plan for dealing with her kids’ candy. One day while they were at school, she gathered all of their uneaten candy and stashed it away to put in plastic eggs for the following Easter. I thought it was a genius idea, and decided to do something similar.
When it was time to put the Halloween candy away, I took what was left and put it in gallon-sized Ziplocs labeled with each of the kids’ names. I added some more candy after Christmas and a ton after Valentine’s Day. Then, we did a candy buyback and gave each of the kids $5 for their bag of candy. I took that same candy and put some in plastic eggs for my daughter’s preschool egg hunt, each of the kids’ Easter baskets, treat bags for each of their birthday parties, and a piñata. This helped me reduce and repurpose all of that candy in a fun and creative way while sharing a little love. (And the kids are none the wiser.) Win-win!
The Dentist Is In
No matter how much or how often the kids eat candy, helping them establish and maintain good oral health habits is key. This means brushing teeth well at least twice a day and flossing to get food particles out from between teeth and below the gum line. It also means staying on top of routine dental exams and cleanings. Taking your child(ren) to the dentist regularly–every 6 months–is one of the best ways to help them maintain healthy teeth and gums, and feel comfortable at the dentist’s office.
If you’re looking for a local pediatric dentist, Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist is a small boutique practice conveniently located in South Miami. You will love the level of highly personalized dental care your children will receive, and your kids will love it, too. Call the office at 305-397-8214 or click here to schedule an appointment today. You won’t regret it!
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