The joy of what is the Easter Egg Hunt, when we want to see our kids’ eyes full of joy and their baskets overflowing with sweet things, leaves us in a predicament post-Easter: What do we do with all of this candy? Ok, so there are a few philosophies on how to solve this problem. Sometimes when I share how we roll with our kids’ candy, I get blank stares. Here is the deal: I refuse to be the traffic cop. I want to be mom. So for me, I can’t put the candy up high and then issue them their portion of it daily, like a prison guard issuing the daily ration of bread. It may work for you, and if it does keep at it, but I can’t be fighting about one more chocolate bunny come June. All good things must come to an end.
Ok, are you ready to hear the ridiculous way I deal with candy holidays?
I let my kids eat as much as they want. Honestly, I don’t care if they eat fifty KitKats. Do you know what I find? Because I’m not policing it, they aren’t hiding the evidence from me for fear I’ll get mad. They eat it until they don’t want it and I’m not losing my mind, then over the next couple of days I get rid of it. When it is left in certain places around the house, I throw it away by the handful. They forget where they put it (or maybe think they have eaten it) and it disappears. Candy gone…problem solved.
So a glaring question may be arising: no, none of my kids have ever thrown up. You know what? Kids don’t want to eat candy until they throw up, but when they feel they have a limited window, they gorge themselves because they see a sliver of time when they are in control.
I think the control piece is something we need to consider when it comes to our parenting. I think we need to place our no’s on the things that really matter. What if we say “no” less frequently…but our “no” is an impasse that is immovable?
When I say no less frequently, I am teaching them to make good choices in the grey, giving them slightly more autonomy than they would expect. If my kid eats candy until they puke, that’s on them. So the coaching of, “Oooh sad. I’m sorry that happened. Did you choose to eat too much candy?” It’s not that I let them eat too much, it’s that they chose to, and next time they will likely choose differently.
Parenting is a tango of control. Stand firmly when it matters and let your kids choose as often as you can. I don’t want my kids to have to look to me to see what’s ok for them to put into their mouths. I want them to learn to trust themselves and make good decisions. I believe that as we give them a little more responsibility than they have earned, they will rise to the occasion. It’s the trust that I see reflected in the eyes of my God, and it’s His trust I long to pass back to my kids. Maybe we can start with decisions as simple as Easter candy?