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Easter, Sugar, and Pre-Schoolers

by Lori Sciame | April 6th, 2012 | Preschool

Running, jumping, dancing, yelling, giggling, kicking – all caused by ingesting massive amounts of sugar. I’ve seen it. You’ve probably witnessed it as well.

Here’s the scenario. A 3-year-old receives a beautiful Easter basket filled to the brim with candy of all kinds, in interesting shapes and gorgeous colors …. enticing to say the least. Then it happens; the little one succumbs to temptation and stuffs his face with all the delectable treats.

When lunch time arrives, he’s not hungry for anything nutritious, so he wiggles in his chair, whining and fussing. The parents, who want to enjoy the meal with family, hush him by turning on the TV and placing him in front of it. The child can’t settle down. He seems to bounce off the walls, so grandma gives him a piece of chocolate pie which he happily accepts.

You guessed it. This 3-year-old’s Easter celebration will continue to spiral out of control. He ends up with a stomach-ache and finishes his day with a bout of nausea and vomiting.

The good news – parents can intervene to make sure the day is not ruined by sugar overload. It’s up to them to make sure a child does not have to battle such intense temptation in the first place! There are at least three ways to do this.

1. Easter Basket Re-do

Easter Baskets do not have to be filled with candy alone. Great ideas include small toys, garden seeds, and even tangerines! Anything goes. For instance, if your child loves to draw, have an art themed basket, or if she loves baseball, give her a new baseball, tickets to a local semi-pro game, and a pack of baseball cards. Use your imagination to go beyond jelly beans and marshmallow chicks. One of my favorite additions – sidewalk chalk.

2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Little ones will be more likely to forget about the treat-filled basket if it is placed out of sight. You can then dole the treats out as you see fit, maybe one or two per day after meals. I learned from watching my nephew’s habit of gorging himself each Easter, only to be ill by the end of the day. He seemed to have no power over the draw of all that sugar! So, my own children’s baskets were never so readily accessible.

3. Bring on the Games

Another distraction from Easter candy is the inclusion of family games during your celebration. I would often have kites in the kids’ baskets, so we could go outside and take advantage of the spring wind. We would also play a game of kick ball or some other family-focused activity. By getting outside, your child’s thoughts will not be focused solely on the 12-inch chocolate bunny he or she just got from grandpa. In reality, a jump rope contest proves to be much more fun that a jelly bean eating contest!

Sugar at Easter remains a tradition, but lessen its negative effects on your preschooler by using these tips. The goal is no tummy aches!

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