Trick or Treating is coming up soon! Are you already dreading all the candy in the house? Wondering how to set limits around all that candy in a positive way? How to make the trick or treat outing as smooth and fun as possible? In this second part of Discipline Tips & Halloween Treats I am sharing ways to use positive parenting tools to avoid power struggles and conflicts on Halloween:
So much candy! Preventing treat Overload
Set Limits: If having a lot of candy in the house is going to be an issue and lead to possible conflict it’s probably best to set limits ahead of time. Take the time to talk together with your child and decide how many pieces of candy will be eaten while out and about trick or treating and how many can be eaten once back home. To set the limit in a really positive way try to acknowledge the excitement of the whole process while still being firm on making healthy choices.
Candy Map: Charts like a daily routine charts are helpful because they give children a visual guide and make limits clear. A candy map or candy chart idea is based on just that. If you and your child tend to struggle when it comes all that Halloween candy, a candy map might be a positive solution to avoid the “just one more ” struggle while still making the candy time fun.
A friend did this last year with her daughter and this is what she told me: We talked and decided the map idea sounded fun! So, on a sheet of paper, my daughter and I drew together six circles and then decorated the sheet with Halloween stickers. Upon returning home, my daughter searched through her loot and chose six pieces of candy, one for each circle. The rest was put away for another day with no fuss, the first time for us that it has been so smooth after a long hour of trick or treating. It’s like she knew exactly what she could have, she felt good being able to choose and it was just so nice instead of dealing with whining! The candy map worked wonders-thank you!
Get Creative: If you tend to end up with way too much candy try to plan along with the children some ideas on what to do with the excess like freezing it for ice cream blizzard like treats and shakes, baking it into cookies, saving it for a piñata, bringing it to a retirement home, doing some candy experiments! Did you know the S from a skittle can float to the top of a bowl of water? Do you know what happens to a Candy Corn left in water and salt over night? Can you build an igloo with taffy? Candy Experiments has really cool ideas!
Just Treats, No Tricks. Preventing Meltdowns while Trick-or-Treating.
Set Realistic Goals: Is your child ready to walk a long stretch or happier close to home? Keep your child’s general disposition for walking and the time of day you go trick or treating in mind. Will it help to limit the number of houses you visit? What about bringing a wagon, soft carrier or stroller along to make the overall experience positive? When my son was two years old, visiting eight houses that were nearby was just enough to make trick-or-treating exciting but not exhausting!
Be Playful: If your child is tired of walking and you still have a bit to go before getting home, try counting jack-o-lanterns on doors or other decorations like silly witches on trees, spider webs etc… as you head back home. “I see a pumpkin, do you see a Pumpkin?” Offer to give your child a piggy back ride or try a round of costumes I-Spy with whatever costumes that are walking past.
Stick to the Routine: After all the commotion and excitement, wind down with your regular good night routine, whatever it may be. Trying to skip ahead or rushing to just get it over with will likely cause confusion and disharmony. Instead try keeping to the regular routine. This is more likely to get everyone off to sleep much faster than arguing and getting distressed along the way. If you think you will be out late and plan on cutting out parts of the routine, try planning and talking about that ahead of time!
When all else fails and those tears do start up? Try to stay connected, listen and be gentle – all that fun can be quite overwhelming! Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself, drink plenty of water, eat a healthy meal, plan to rest before heading out, invite a friend to come along – whatever you need to do so you can enjoy a fun time with the kids!!
In the past years, has Halloween brought up struggles with costumes, candy or getting to bed after trick-or-treating – How did you deal with that?