When kids are looking for treat foods it’s hard to say no. As parents we need to know when a treat should really be a treat and aim to offer your child healthy treat and snack alternatives to change from more sugary or fatty options. Here are 10 Practical Ways to Say No to Treats:
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#1. Think of the Long Term
Think of this as a long-term solution rather than a quick fix. If you’ve been saying yes to crisps, biscuits and other sugary or unhealthy snacks then you’ll need to gradually change behaviour.
#2. Decide on Your Family’s Goal
Next decide on what the goal is for treats – how often, when etc. Use a treats diary to see how many treats your children currently eat and use that to decide where you would like to be. In our house it’s Saturdays that are our treat days when we relax the rules and the kids get to buy sweets and enjoy them.
#3. Start Gradually and Don’t Make Too Many Strict Rules At Once.
Cut down on treat foods, but don’t ban them as this only makes them more appealing. Offer healthy alternatives like fruit, healthier home-made snacks with lower sugar and so on. Get your child involved in making new things for snacks.
You might find 10 Easy Healthy Snacks for Preschoolers They’ll Ask for Again useful
#4. Let Your Child Know What The Limits Are
This includes how often and how much, and explain why you are making these new rules.
#5. Be Firm
Stick to the limits as best as you can. I found that picking the one day for the treats helped as I could deflect requests on other days by saying “Ah but it’s not our Treat Day”.
#6. Reduce the Amount of Treats You Have in the House
Avoid having fatty and sugary snack foods or drinks freely available. If they’re not in the house, they can’t be eaten.
You might find Do You Know How Much Sugar Per Day Your Child Should Eat? useful
#7. Say No in the Supermarket
Supermarkets often have treat-free checkouts so look out for those to reduce those impulse buys.
#8. Get Your Family and Friends to Support
Tell your family and friends that you’re making changes so they know about the new routine, especially if they are involved with helping take care of your kids.
#9. Practise What You Preach
Children are more likely to learn from how you behave rather than from what you tell them. If your child sees you eating an apple as a snack and enjoying it, they will be tempted to try one
#10. Try Some Non-Food Rewards
Incentivise your children to make the changes using non-food rewards. You could have a jar with little ideas for things to do together as rewards instead of sweets or crisps.
Over to you now. Have you any tips for ways to say no to treats? Tell us in the comments below.