I often get asked how I handle the eating at the endless stream of kiddie parties we must attend due to our current season of life. Just like any other family our weekends have become filled with birthday party after birthday party. As all of you know these parties are often filled with pizza, hot dogs, chips, candy, and sweets. The great part about these parties (sarcasm here) is that the sweets do not end there. We are sent home with a bag of sweets and trinkets.Due to the fact that I have gotten well versed on what lies before us at these parties I have developed a few tricks that work for our family. I refuse to be one of those moms that puts the kabosh on fun for my kids in light of a clean eating lifestyle. I had to develop a plan that we all could live with.
Tip 1:Feed the family before we go. This insures that none of us are starving when we arrive. This is a great “dieting” trick I learned years ago. If you are hungry you will lack judgement, your kids will fight you on it, and you will be stuck to eat what is there.
Tip 2: Review with your kids your expectations of the day. For example, I request that my children check with me first before they put anything in their mouth. This is for a few reasons, they may have found it on the ground, they may be allergic, it may be a bad choice for them if they are going to want something else later (juice box now AND juice box with meal).
Tip 3: Do not fight the small stuff. I know before going in that I am going to let them eat “junk” because junk is fun. The great thing about this is that my kids know that too. They usually do not fight me when I say no to something because they know I will say yes to something else.Tip 4:Point out the options to your kids. If you have this sucker now then you can not have a piece of cake later. If they really want that sucker you will know because they will pass on the cake. This is how I live my own life as well. I decide what splurge I really want to have and pass on the others.Tip 5:Explain, Explain, Explain. I explain my thought process to my kids all the time. I want them to know where I am coming from. You would be surprised how well your kids do with things when you take the time to explain your reasons before the situation gets out of control.Tip 6: I NEVER reward bad behavior. My kids know that if they lose control and have a tantrum over something I have said no to they WILL NOT get it. They also know that further consequence will come from their inappropriate behavior at a party (loss of tv,a favorite game, or dessert at home). The reason this works is because they have both tried it. Due to their poor behavior they not only didn’t get what they wanted, they embarrassed themselves at the party, and lost a privilege. If things look like they are going to spin in the wrong direction I give them a friendly reminder.
When I am following these tips, parties are rarely an issue. My kids get to eat hot dogs and pepperoni pizza. Candy and cake. The great thing for my kids is that these parties are really special because they do not get to eat like this on a daily basis. The other great benefit is that I do not come home with cranky, sugar overloaded, tummy sick kiddos.