Believe it or not, you don’t actually have to give into your toddler’s wails for candy in the checkout line at the grocery store. Candy is definitely not essential for your little one’s health, and therefore, it is completely unnecessary. A myriad of reasons exists that can cause you to do decide to block your little one from indulging in the sweet stuff, so it’s important to come up with alternatives for your child and for those caring for her. After all, toddlers are sweet enough… most of the time.
Toddlers might love the taste of lollipops, but some kids simply can’t eat candy. This could be because of health reasons, such as diabetes or allergies; safety issues, thanks to choking hazards some candies present, or even just a family commitment to pass on the sugary stuff. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s good to know that toddlers don’t actually need candy to survive, even if you’re just using it as a reward or occasional treat.
The thing about sweet treats is that toddlers are already drawn to sweet foods. After all, it’s probably what attracts a little one to pureed fruits over veggies as an infant. But starting now to create healthy habits means you create a foundation for better choices for life. Instead of reaching for sweet snacks, a toddler who can’t have candy will probably go for healthier options and foods that are naturally sweet, instead of noshing on nutritionally empty and calorically high treats on a regular basis.
If you’ve decided that your child can’t have candy, you should know that you still have tons of options for rewards or for snacks without resorting to candy. Small, soft chunks of fruit are sweet and easy to eat, while yogurt can satisfy a craving for something creamy. One of the best ways to remove the temptation for candy from your home is to simply refrain from buying candy altogether. That way, if your child begs for a lolly, you can tell her honestly that you don’t have any and then suggest a better option.
While you might be able to control what your little one eats in your home, you can’t always watch what caretakers, family members or even teachers offer your candy-free kid. Make sure that if your toddler cannot have sweets, you explain the issue to all of her caretakers and provide an alternative, especially if your little one is having a playdate or babysitter. If you skip on sweets because of a medical condition, ensure any caretaker knows of the issue and leave emergency numbers in the case that your toddler does get her hands on candy.
There may also be times when someone offers your little one a treat without asking you first. In that case, gently remind the person making the nice offer that your little one doesn’t eat candy but would love to share another type of treat you have on hand. It’s a polite way to remind others that you’re going candy free.