5 Tips and tricks to tame your child’s sweet tooth

chocolate craving- Easy Tips by ZenParent

It’s probably been inevitable. You first never gave sweets or candies to your toddler till maybe he/ she was 2. But eventually, their love for chocolates has only been increasing. And now it’s a battle. Without knowing how it started, we have to bargain, beg, cajole and threaten the kids about not eating too many chocolates. And it doesn’t help that friends and family keep handing out bars of chocolates every time they meet the kids! Here’s how to reign in your child’s sweet tooth before the teeth are damaged –

1. Introduce treats earlier than you think – The wise may have told you to hold off sweets as long as you can. And maybe you made it till your kid was 3. But doing that only makes it the forbidden fruit or something special. Instead, dietitians recommend introducing sweets between 18 and 24 months of age. The key is to have a good balanced diet going on, on the side and not to attach any significance to sweets.

2. Keep it small and low sugar – As far as possible, find natural substitutes to satisfy the sweet craving. Sweets made of jaggery rather than sugar. Even among sweets, hardened candy is less likely to lodge between your kids’ teeth and cause tooth decay than actual chocolate. The stickier the candy, higher the chance of teeth decay. So keep it simple – a small piece of hard candy, home-made sweets or even a small serving of ice cream as dessert is alright.

3. Banish the emotional quotient – the moment you start offering treats as reward or compensation, they become items of luring kids to not to or do a certain thing in exchange of getting anything they like. Every time your child does something that can fetch him a treat from you, try and cut the habit by not doing the same. Don’t teach him that it works this way. Instead, schedule it. For example, after a day in the park. Or after 2 hours of swimming. Let them earn it through physical activity or doing something really good for him.

4. Good dental hygiene – this needs to practiced irrespective of whether treats were offered or not. Kids brushing their teeth twice a day is non-negotiable since it is particularly important when the treats are sticky chocolates with caramel, or snacks like biscuits which can break up and lodge crumbs that can aid tooth decay.

5. Encourage habit – when your child is offered treats by kind shopkeepers, neighbors or friends, you need to teach him/ her to accept the treat, thank the person, but then hand the candy over to you to be given to him/ her at an appropriate time. It’s also important for the grown ups of the house to model similar good behavior and exercise restraint in eating “junk”.

While it is tempting to minimize all forms of sugar and sweets from your child’s diet and life, it’s not entirely practical. A more realistic approach would be to accept that kids innately love sweets and it is certainly more rewarding to incorporate it in your kids’ diets that balances with his every day’s consumption in a healthy manner and promote a healthy attitude towards treats.

Image Source: via Google Images

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