Sweets and children: how to avoid tummy aches and drama
One of the most frequent questions asked by children is: “can I have a sweet?”. Unless the answer is yes, this moment is always followed by crying, shouting and a tantrum. Whereas if you give in to the sweet eyes of your children, you’ll end up cuddling them in bed while they complain about their tummy ache.
Sugar for children must always be monitored and balanced to avoid problems like tooth decay or obesity. Sometimes we give in thinking we are being kind to our little ones, in the belief that a small transgression, just like with adults, won’t have any consequences and can be recovered, but keep in mind that the body of an adult doesn’t work in the same way as that of a child.
First of all, we need to remember that sweets shouldn’t be embedded in a child’s mind as a reward. Today it is not easy to do this because in society it is a common thought, but in a child’s mind it can cause some misunderstandings. A sweet reward makes your children think that if they behave properly they will have their daily dose of sugar, but this could turn into an addiction that will make them believe that every good action they do they will get a reward, and so they will ask for more and more sweets during the same day.
To prevent this, it is important to ensure a good diet that ensures a healthy relationship with food. A complete and fully nutritious diet will teach them that eating healthily is normal and not an obligation to try and avoid as soon as they have a chance. If the diet is complete, obviously, sweets should be included, but as normal components and not as action-based benefits.
If the relationship with sugar is particular for children, it is even more so for newborns who must not be given sugar in the first year. Though in this case we should remember that from the second year, their diet shouldn’t be the same as the rest of the family, but it still should be built around their needs.
Some of the hardest periods to manage in terms of sweets, are birthday parties, Christmas holidays and when the Befana comes around. Especially with the arrival of the stocking, children see sweets always available and there is a constant request. How should we deal with these moments? By learning as much as you can about sugars. So, it becomes important to understand that a chocolate or a sweet doesn’t need to be excluded but you just need to understand how to take them. Fruit juices, jams and milk are rich of simple sugars that give a burst of energy to your child. If there is an excess in simple sugars, the little ones will struggle to absorb the sugar and they will end up being hyper active and with a tummy ache.
So, remember that the morning is the best time for them to have these types of food. This will give the body time to digest, but don’t overdo it. If you have a dessert for dinner, let the little one taste it in small amounts. A dessert contains many different types of sugars and small tasters will also help you see your child’s reaction.
The main rule to keep in mind is that young children don’t have the same mechanism as adults so you shouldn’t project your cravings onto them. Each body works in its own way and you have to learn how to deal with that of your children. Consider what you give them to eat and check their reactions to foods and quantities. This can help you avoid general rules that may have worked with older brothers or sisters or cousins so you could assume they will also work with your little one. Understand their limits and help them to grow consciously.