Party favors: You either love them or you hate them.
Most mothers I know hate them. They’re usually filled with clutter and crap, otherwise known as toys and candy.
True, a lot of parents get creative and dole out coloring books, paint sets or Lego kits. And some parents go overboard: Can you say American Girl Dolls? Read this New York Times article to see how some parents indulge their decadent side, but be prepared to be appalled.
Still, most goody bags boil down to the basics—toys and candy.
You might be surprised to hear this, but it’s this kind of party favor bag—the kind filled with candy— which can really do you a favor. Use them to teach your kids to manage candy. It’s a skill they’ll need for a lifetime of healthy eating.
The key to coping with the goods in the goody bag is to break that baby apart. Obliterate it. Destroy its identity. Send it to the moon.
As long as the party bag remains intact, your kids believe they’re entitled to eat the candy contents entirely, and on the day of delivery. No matter the amount, your kids want to eat the whole kit and caboodle.
- If there are 6 pieces of candy in the bag, kids think they should eat all 6.
- If there are 8 pieces in the bag, they’ll want all 8.
- And if there are 28 pieces…you get my point.
Boy, are you in for a battle. Or a senseless afternoon of sensory overload.
- Do you fight the fight, engaging in a daily debate over how many delights you should dole out?
- Or, do you let your kids consume all the crap as quickly as possible so you don’t have to deal with the dope forever?
The answer: Neither. You don’t have to be at the mercy of the mother who foised the favor.
Neutralize the power of the party favor. Disassemble the bag the second you get home.
I mean it. Take that sucker apart. Not by dumping the candy into the trash, but by emptying the candy into the candy drawer you keep at home.
You do keep a candy drawer at home, don’t you? If not, please consider it. The candy drawer will:
- Empower your kids to regulate their own candy consumption.
- Take the power of the lollypop down a peg or two.
I’m not suggesting a free-for-all. You’ve got to give your kids some guidelines. Read Lollypops Whenever They Want?
If you let the candy sit around the house in the bag it came home in it will constantly call your kid’s name.
Eat me. Eat me. Eat me.
Most parents solve this problem by getting the goods out of the house as soon as they can. This solution perpetuates the problem. Your kids never learn how to cope with candy, and so the next party favor bag is just as big of a bomb.
If, instead, you break up the contents, the candy collection will no longer seem like a set. Your kids will no longer be able to identify what came into the house when. They’ll no longer feel entitled to eat it all.
AND THEN… the regular rules for candy consumption will take over: One per day? Only after lunch?
The party loses its punch. Your house rules, well, rule.
You can’t teach children to manage candy by managing it for them.
Keeping a stash of candy in the house might terrify you. You probably worry that if you keep a candy drawer in your home your kids will clamor – constantly – for candy. In reality, though, it actually works the other way around. Candy drawers neutralize the power of candy.
Think of this as simple economics: scarcity drives prices up; surplus drives them down. You want to drive the price of candy down, way down.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~