It seems like most families have some sort of rule about the consumption of candy, such as allowing the eating of sweets only once a week, or no more than a certain amount per day, or maybe taking an Ellyn Satter approach and giving kids free reign so long as candy-eating doesn’t interfere with meals.
In the TLT household, as I told you once before, we effectively managed the influx of candy for a long time by using our beloved Treat Basket, a place where lollipops from the bank teller and booty from the Valentine’s Day party could reside until such time as a “special treat” was warranted. That worked really well — until my kids got older and realized that, as with the Roach Motel, most of what was going into the Treat Basket was never coming out.
These days, with a savvy 8- and 11-year-old, things are a lot more ad hoc. Sometimes my kids gobble up candy as soon as they receive it (as my daughter does every single Tuesday and Thursday afternoon when a certain unnamed teacher at our school hands out treats – grrr) but other times we still make them fork it over for later consumption, especially when they get tons of junk all at once, like after a classroom party. And no matter what, I’m not a big fan of candy being stored in my kids’ rooms. (If you’ve seen the size of Houston bugs, you understand. Seriously, people, they’re large enough to be kept as pets.)
Further complicating the issue is the fact that a few years ago we started giving our kids a nominal allowance — just a few dollars each month, of which a portion goes to charity and a portion to savings. With the little bit of pocket money left over, my kids used to indulge mostly in toys from Target’s Dollar Spot and/or sugarless gum.
Lately, however, both kids are asking more often if they can spend their money on candy, candy which they want to keep in their rooms and eat at will. The Control Freak part of me is not at all happy with this idea, and as you’ve figured out by now, I’m about 65% Control Freak. But I recognize that my kids are getting older and deserve (and would benefit from) more freedom in managing both their finances and their sweet-eating. (In fact, one child will be heading off to middle school next year and soon a little contraband candy in the nightstand drawer could be the least of my problems.)
So, just out of curiosity, for those of you who give an allowance, do your kids have carte blanche to spend it on sweets or other junk you wouldn’t normally buy for them? If so, do you put any restrictions at all on those purchases, like when and where they can be eaten?
Take my reader poll and I’ll share the results in tomorrow’s Friday Buffet.