{Series} Parenting Quiz #2: Introducing Sweets

Childs Hands full of candy

By: Naomi Maharij 

Think you have this parenting thing down to a science? You handle messes, tiffs, and tears without a bat of an eyelash? Or are you constantly second guessing yourself? Reading parenting books and trying to decide what parenting style you want to implement? Take this parenting quiz (part 2 of 6) to see your score (Part 1 is here).


You are deciding how to deal with introducing sweets to your child. Whether it is Halloween candy, chocolate during the holidays, ice cream, a cookie in the grocery store or Smarties after using the potty, it seems a good idea to decide ahead of time how you want treats handled.

Which one do you choose?


a)   channel Gwyneth and adamantly don’t allow treats for your child. Period.

b)   avoid treats at all costs. No ice cream at Grandma’s and you ensure the Easter Bunny and Santa bring treats of the non-chocolate variety. But you allow it when it can’t be avoided; cake at a birthday party for example.

c)    believe in moderation. A bit here, a bit there, a potty treat here, a cookie at the check out there.

d)   don’t believe daily treats are a big deal. You aren’t upset when grandma sends you a photo of your 8 month old bathed in ice cream from a cone, and his first birthday is not the first time he has cake. People are too picky about this stuff!


If you answered A: You are incorrect.
A quick Google search of parenting discussion boards indicates that lots of parents support this approach. As many people, nutritionists, even TIME suggests this approach leads to over consumption at a later date. Opposers suggest omitting a food, you aren’t teaching your child how to handle it.

If you answered B: You are incorrect.

Similar to A, opposers of this approach indicate that treating a food like a sacred event may cause to unhealthy approaches (i.e. over consumption) to the food later on.

If you answered C: You are incorrect.

Moderation is a slippery slope here. What is moderate to one is over consumption to another. There seems to be disagreement on what ‘moderate’ is : in looking for a reference to quote I found nutritionists recommending a wide range of ‘allowable empty calories’ based on the age of the child and their activity level.

If you answered D: You are incorrect.
Generally professionals suggest that exposure with limitations is preferable. But it is only a generation ago that this was viewed as a reasonable approach.

The point?

You are attempting to set a guideline for your children so they are healthy, happy individuals, but you don’t want to give in to every opportunity to give them a treat nor do you want to deprive them to the point that they over consume the first chance they get.

I am not a parenting expert (I failed this quiz too). If you aren’t sure you, I imagine keeping daily diary for a few weeks of what your child eats will show you their actual consumption, while showing it to your family Doctor or a nutritionist should provide some appropriate guidance.

What is your approach to sweet treats?

Naomi Maharaj is mom to two boys, ages 2 and 3. She started the blog Laughing Mom when her second son was a few months old as a way to highlight the lighter side of parenting. In the face of sleep deprivation, crying babies and tantruming toddlers she hopes to be able to see, and share, the humor in it all. Naomi occasionally comments on current events or human interest pieces that catch her attention. Connect with Naomi on Facebook.


  1. 1

    Great post! I’m frequently asked about the best way to handle treats. The evidence supports including them “on the menu” sometimes so that kids learn how to self-regulate with sweets. It’s human nature to actively pursuer anything that’s forbidden. And the research into kids behaviour with sweets agrees. For more info check out my blog post “What to do About Hallowe’en Candy” at: http://kristenyarker.com/blog/page/3 (scroll to page 3)
    Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD

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