Has your 10-year-old asked to trick-or-treat with friends with no parental supervision? What about your 12-year-old? How do you know the right time to allow this?
Thirteen years old is the youngest age at which I recommend allowing unsupervised trick or treating. Halloween can be dangerous for the inexperienced. Children traveling, even in a group, may not know how to negotiate drunk teens, running across the street safely in the dark, or unwelcome advances from homeowners or pets.
From 11-years old, allow a little independence by walking behind your group of kids to let them feel independent while still being there should they need you. Children under 11-years old should be fully supervised.
Your successful little trick-or-treater comes home with a huge pile of candy and begins digging in immediately.
“Stop! You can’t eat all that candy.”
“Why not?” responds your little angel. “It’s mine, and I want to eat it!”
What is the best way to manage a year’s supply of sweets and avoid weight gain, sugar overload, and a bad case of “it’s mine, I’ll do what I want!”?
• Sort through the bag, throwing out unwrapped pieces and any candy your child doesn’t like.
• Allow your child to eat several pieces of candy on Halloween night, then take the bag away.
• Allow one or two small pieces each day (maximum) in place of your child’s regular ‘junk food’ snack. Candy should not replace a healthy snack, but can be a small addition to it.
• After a few weeks, it is likely that the novelty will wear off and you will be able to gradually stop doling out Halloween candy as a snack.
• Resist the urge to use it (or any food) as a reward for good behavior.
Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at www.drsusanbartell.com.