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Stefanie Tsabar

How To Teach Kids To Pass On Sweets (If They’re Full)




If you’ve ever watched and worried about your child going crazy with sweets, whether at parties or otherwise, then you’re not alone.

Most parents dread the day that their child discovers “real” desserts instead of fresh fruit or the day at camp when they get tons of candy.

A few years ago, I was knee-deep in this issue, too. I used to wish that I could resolve it overnight, but after years of working through it one dessert at a time, I now understand that true, internal, lasting change takes time. A LOT of time.

But, now that I’m finally starting to see the light, I can tell you: it’s worth it.

On Friday afternoon, I took my son to Yogurtland for “treat snack,” and as always, he was ecstatic. However, after having a few tastes, filling up his cup and adding some toppings, he said,

“I’m actually not hungry. My body tricked me into thinking I was because I was so excited.”

Then, he asked me to save it for him for another time.

This particular scenario had never happened before, so I wanted to make sure I handled it gingerly. My main goal was:

To show him that it was safe to pass up on his treat snack in the moment because another opportunity would be just around the corner.

That’s why I decided to give him his Yogurtland at his 10am snack the following day, which he loved.

If I had waited any longer, he would have felt like he’d lost his opportunity. In fact, I regret not explicitly telling him my plan because he did end up worrying about when he’d get to have it.

The reality is that so many kids go crazy over sweets at certain times because they perceive those moments to be their only chance in the foreseeable future to eat them, and they want to get as much as they can.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait until your child passes on dessert to use this strategy to help them.

Instead, you can tell your child in advance that if she’s too full to eat dessert, you’ll save it and give it to her at the next meal, the next morning, or whenever might feel “soon.”

That’s what I’ve been doing my son for years.

So, keep in mind that teaching our kids how to regulate their own eating with sweets takes so much time and patience. At the beginning, we just need to have a lot of blind faith.

If you’d like to read more, here are specific strategies to end kids’ obsession with sweets.

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