With the holidays once more upon us, there will be countless parties that you and your family will attend. While the gifts being exchanged are the center of every child’s attention, dessert is definitely a close second. Cookies, candy canes, chocolate Santas — the list of festive holiday sweets never seem to end. Sure it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of sugar for your little sugar plums.
While the visual effects of sugar on children may be weight gain or them flying around the house faster than Santa’s reindeer, it can also affect your kids in other ways that you don’t see. It’s important to keep a healthy diet, as sugar will lower your child’s immune system and make them susceptible to colds and flu. It can also affect their mood, making the holiday go from jolly to jittery. Not to mention, sugar can be addictive.
If you give kids a lot of sugar during the holiday season, don’t think it stops when January arrives. They will still be craving it and that’s not the right way to start the New Year. I know you don’t want to be a Scrooge when it comes to the goodies, but moderation is key to a happy holiday for all. Here are some ways to limit and regulate the sugar intake in your household during this festive season.
Santa’s little helpers
Try to use sweets as a reward for your children during the holiday season. Set a precedent early on: If they help with household chores, then they will get a treat. If they bake holiday cookies with you, they will get one fresh out of the oven when they’re finished. If they put up the stockings, they will be given a candy cane. This will keep them focused and motivated to lend a hand or a cookie cutter.
It’s one thing to offer holiday treats for the kids, but it’s another to over-indulge the household with sugary snacks. When it comes time for a treat, be wary of the portions. Too much sugar will create highs and lows. One minute they will be running around the house like little elves and the next moment they will want to hibernate like bears. Portion control is paramount to achieve candy control.
Not within reach
If you leave jars and bowls of candy around the house, you are asking for trouble. Your children will be reaching for candy constantly and it’s impossible to monitor their sugar intake that way. Don’t leave any candy out or hanging on the tree. The only things that should be left out are cookies for Santa.
If children are going to other friends’ homes for play dates during the holidays, team up with their parents to curb the sugar and focus on healthier snacks. And when other children come to your home, make sure you do the same.
The same advice applies if you’re divorced and your child heads to your ex’s house. Make sure you discuss the sugar that is being consumed in both your home and his. Teamwork will certainly make the holidays and the weeks leading up go smoother.
A long winter’s nap
By watching the sugar intake, your kids will stay on the right sleep schedule. Sugar during the day will make them hyper and ornery when you want them to settle down for a nap. Not to mention, they will wake up feeling sharper and fresher when you keep sweets at a minimum in their diet.
Brushing away the holidays
Kids are going to be snacking constantly during the holiday season. Whether it’s at school or at home, there always seems to be something to eat. Make sure that they take the time to brush their teeth during the day and before they go to bed. Santa coming is one thing, but the tooth fairy should take a rain check!
When you tuck them in and turn out the lights at night, I have found children actually eating candy that they stashed in their room. Choose a time when the kids aren’t around or when they’re distracted and do a clean sweep of their room every now and then. Look and smell your way to the trail of sugary treats. Once you sugar-proof their bedrooms, you will have an easier holiday season.
More healthy eating habits for kids
Learn about the nanny to the stars
Marva Soogrim, world-renowned nanny to the stars, has more than two decades of experience with her unique whole family approach to caring for newborns and integrating this new experience into the family.
Born in Trinidad, Marva came to the U.S. at the age of 21. As a mother of four, she has continued to work hard to offer the best for her children as well as her clients. With medical assistant training and impeccable references, Marva began her calling as a baby nurse/nanny to some of New York’s most prestigious families.
News of her novel and calm approach to caring for babies spread and she quickly became the nanny of choice for celebrity A-listers including Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Courtney Cox, Sheryl Crow and Chris O’Donnell to name a few.