Question: Is there a way to stop the sweets – holidays association before it starts? My husband and I went off of sugar several years ago, and it’s been the best health decision we’ve ever made. Our son is almost 2, and we’d like to keep sugar from becoming a reward or celebratory association in his brain.
Answer: I would definitely recommend experiences over sugar or treats of any kind. Let your son choose what he would like, give him a few options and let him decide, that way he will feel empowered and in control. Perhaps time with Mummy at a kids’ play group or fun gym, or time with Daddy reading, going for a walk and jumping in the fall leaves.
Perhaps painting excites him so you can organize a painting activity where he can get messy and have fun. These will all enhance your bonding experience too so he will associate a “treat” with a feeling of love, fun, excitement, freedom.
I would suggest getting the whole family involved, let his grandparents, aunts, uncles, baby sitter know what you are doing and encourage them to follow your lead and explain why you are doing it, that way you shouldn’t have any “surprise” candies at Christmas in his stocking.
For Halloween we use the “switch witch” method. Our boys will go out trick or treating in their costumes and have a lot of fun, at the end of the night they dump out their candy and we donate it to an organization that uses it for care packages etc. We will have already hidden a toy in the house somewhere and they have to go and find it. We have used this method since our boys were 2 (they are 8 & 9 now) and they still love the Switch Witch.
By the way, I think you are doing this at the perfect time! It’s a great time to train the taste buds towards more of a savory palate and to build a positive outlook and relationship with “treats” and what that means to them.
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