What to do (and not do) about kids and their Halloween candy

This year is going to be different for sure, thanks to our new friend COVID-19 but neighborhoods are already trying to find ways to continue our trick-or-treating tradition while maintaining social distance. And if there is candy involved, somewhere someone is thinking “what do I do about candy and my kids?”

Two key goals with child feeding:

  1. Maintain self-regulation
  2. Learn how to eat ALL foods

Raising intuitive kids

Think about a new born baby. Most babies are very good intuitive eaters. They know when they are hungry and know when they are full – they are great at self-regulating. Unfortunately, as we get older, outside influence gets in the way of our ability to intuitively eat – school, work, diet culture, etc. We want to do as much as we can to maintain those hunger and satiety cues no matter what life throws our way. Allow your kids to discover what it feels like to be full, hungry, too hungry, too full.

What else happens as we get older? We gain more freedom and independence and with that, access to all the foods they potentially aren’t “allowed” to have as kids. In order to understand that responsibility as an adult you need to have the learning experience as a kid. Let them learn that eating a lot of candy can lead to a stomach ache but having some candy here and there is no biggie.

Do’s and Do Nots


Let kids eat what they want on Halloween. Let them know it’s not going anywhere; it’ll be available periodically. Use it as a snack when you feel like it. Put it in their lunch when you feel like it. Surprise them!

Do not:

Use candy as a reward or something that has to be earned. This can increase the desire for something – if I’m good and this is my reward, it must be really good and I should want it all of the time. Rather than, “it’s just candy, sometimes I want it, sometimes I don’t”.

Remember, the purpose of the holiday is to have fun and create memories; try not stress over your young one’s sugar intake. If they overdo it, it will be okay. Let them learn that you trust them to make some decisions, and yes, some mistakes. It’s easier to maintain the body trust we are born with than it is to relearn it.

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For more information on self-regulation, listen to:

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