Why I’m letting my 3-year-old eat all the Halloween candy he wants.

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Hello, old friends! Long time, no post for me. Its been an extremely busy fall! Mrs. Bean’s kitchen has been in full swing but I’ve not had a lot of time to write about it. I hope to change that, starting now!

 

I don’t know about you, but today, I’m tired. The Bean family had a great time on Halloween, and today we are recuperating from it all! Little Bean, who is 3, was very excited to get dressed up in his “Obot” (robot) costume and go trick-or-treating, and he brought home quite the sugary haul!

 

So, if you were surprised at the title of my post, I’m not surprised to hear that! You may have noticed that I really love real food, and truly believe in the healing value of it. Rest assured, none of that has changed! But what has changed is our minds about how we will handle situations such as Halloween.

 

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I have been reading a book called Love Me, Feed Me in an effort to gain some insight into Little Bean’s feeding challenges. In this book, the author discusses the Trust Model of feeding. The Trust Model, in a nutshell, is the belief that parents and kids have unique responsibilities in the feeding process, called DOR, or Division of Responsibility. Parents have the responsibility of deciding the what, when and where of feeding, and kids have the responsibility of deciding how much.

 

Within the Trust Model, if a child wants to eat all of the meat and none of the vegetables that are offered for dinner, the parent will not bribe, cajole, threaten or do anything else that would otherwise coerce a child into eating said vegetables. Because it is not his or her job to do that … its the child’s. Parents do not change their offerings if children refuse them. No “kid meals” if the food choices are not warmly accepted. Parents simply continue to offer a wide variety of foods, sometimes many times, and trust that over time, their child’s tastes and diet balances out. No power struggles. And most importantly, there is no guilt or shame about the pleasurable act of eating.

 

We are still relatively new to the Trust Model of feeding, but already we are seeing good things happen with Little Bean. Since beginning with this new paradigm, we have had only one anxious outburst related to mealtimes. (That is a huge improvement, as it used to be a daily occurrence, and sometimes multiple times per day!) And even that one little blip was last night (HALLOWEEN) at dinner time. Which I’m actually not putting too much stock into since the outburst was solely because he was so excited to go out trick-or-treating and mad at us for suggesting he eat some dinner first. 🙂

 

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While I believe that the Trust Model could be beneficial for almost any child, I believe that it is especially good for children who come from “hard places” (i.e. foster and adopted kiddos), and here is why: food is one of our most basic necessities for life, and we as parents have a king-sized opportunity to attach with these kiddos and earn their trust by being The Provider of this life-sustaining nourishment! Literally! It is huge! So for us in the end, it isn’t even about the caloric or nutrient intake. Its about making sure Little Bean knows that Mom and Dad have got his back. 

 

So back to the Halloween candy. Rest assured, Little Bean isn’t going to have a free-for-all until his teeth have rotted out of his head! 🙂 We will be deciding on a per-day limit within reason. And eventually, his treasured stash will sadly come to an end. And there will be no candy for breakfast. But for this occasion, if he wants to eat to the bottom of his bucket (eventually), … we are going to let it happen. (Of course, Dad and Mom might siphon some of the proceeds off little by little, so as to unnoticeably thin the stash little by little. <tee hee>) Because for the kid who woke up telling me “fun trick-or-treaing wif’you,” and who gets real food the vast majority of the time, and who generally prefers traditionally fermented carrots to chips any day, this is not the hill I am willing to die on.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Lynn
    November 1, 2016 / 10:31 PM

    This is a tough one… having a child whose teeth were rotted out when she came to us (yes a dental health hygeine issue in addition to diet). Said child also wanting to eat all the time. We have gotten to a place where she is making good choices and understands that treats are not for every day. Her idea is that moderation would be to eat one piece of candy a day. Sounds good, right? But, then I’m thinking, I know habits can be solidified in 21 days. I don’t want a daily candy habit! We agreed to 3 pcs one day a week; her total haul could last 23 weeks…it’ll disappear before then 😉

  2. Mrs. Bean
    November 2, 2016 / 6:42 AM

    I totally agree, this is a tough one! Perhaps this book will discuss special times like Halloween eventually. I’m only about 1/4 through it. Every situation is different, and I’m even holding space for the fact that Halloween 2017 may be a whole different situation … maybe we will do the Switch Witch/Great Pumpkin, or maybe we will not trick-or-treat at all. We will take it as it comes, but for now, we are putting the energies into attachment above other issues due to his extreme anxiety around meal times.

    I also meant to add that on Halloween night, he wanted to try at least a half dozen items from his bucket, and without fail, he spit every one out and told me: “no like dat one!” (Works for me! LOL) Last night, after a good dinner, we let him choose two treats. He wanted sour straws. He had one whole one, and about a bite of the second, then just wanted to play with it because he was done. So in his case, I think withholding would just backfire on us, because it seems as though the majority of the excitement for him was just in “getting” all of the candy in the first place.

    Every kid is different. 🙂 <3

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