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Is your Kid Sneaking Sweets? Here are 5 Things You can do Today

As a parent, it's never easy to find out that your kid is sneaking sweets or other food. You might feel a range of emotions - angry, confused, and concerned, to name a few. Your first instinct may be to discipline your child and set even tighter restrictions around sweets and snacks. But is this really the best course of action or will it perpetuate the issue and lead to more sneaking and dishonesty?

In this blog post, we'll explore what to do if your kid is sneaking food, and offer some tips on how to handle the situation in a way that promotes a positive relationship with food and builds trust between you and your child.

It's important to understand that it's not uncommon for kids to sneak a cookie or have a small treat when you're not looking. These sneaky moments are a part of childhood and there's typically no need to worry. However, if you start to notice that your child is constantly sneaking food, it may be time to take action.

Here are 5 things you can do if your child is sneaking food:

Avoid reacting negatively or shaming them

Approaching your child with kindness and curiosity is key when you've caught them sneaking food. It can be tempting to react with anger or frustration, but this will likely only make your child feel threatened and defensive. Instead, try to make it clear that you're not mad and that you want to have an open and honest conversation. You could say something like, "Hey honey, I noticed some candy wrappers in your closet. I'm not mad, but I wanted to talk to you about it and figure out what's going on. Can you tell me more about why you felt the need to sneak the candy?" By taking a non-judgmental approach, you're more likely to get your child to open up and share their feelings with you.

Understand the reason behind the sneaking

The next step is to really listen to what your child has to say. Ask your child to explain why they felt the need to sneak the food, and really listen to their answer without interrupting or judging.

Possible reasons could be that your child:

  • Isn’t getting enough food at mealtimes

  • Is going through a growth spurt and needs more energy

  • May be eating out of boredom

  • Was feeling stressed and turned to food for comfort

  • May be feeling restricted of certain sweets or snacks

  • Feels ashamed of asking for more food

  • Is seeing foods on the counter which is triggering temptation

By understanding the reason behind the sneaking, you can work together to find a solution that addresses the underlying issue.

Notice if you’re being too restrictive on sweets

It's important to remember that restricting your child's intake of sweets can actually backfire and make the problem worse. When children feel like food is restricted or scarce, they often become more obsessed with those exact foods. This is known as the "scarcity effect," and it applies to both children and adults. In fact, you may have experienced this yourself when you've gone on a diet or tried to cut out a certain food: as soon as you feel restricted, you start to crave it even more! So, while it may be tempting to limit your child's access to sweets or other snacks, it's important to do so in a way that doesn't create a sense of scarcity or deprivation.

Honor their hunger

One of the best ways to address consistent sneaking of food is to honor your child's hunger. If your child admits to sneaking food because they're not getting enough to eat, it's important to listen to their needs and add more food to their daily intake. This may mean increasing the size of their meals, adding more snacks throughout the day, or adjusting the types of foods they're eating. By honoring their hunger and making sure they're getting enough to eat, you can help reduce the urge to sneak food and create a more positive relationship with food overall.

Reassure and move on

Try not to dwell on the situation or make your child feel bad about sneaking food. Instead, normalize the experience by reminding them that everyone has snuck a treat or two at some point. Let your child know that they don't have to sneak food to enjoy it and that they're allowed to have them without fear of getting in trouble. In fact, you can make it a positive experience by suggesting you both enjoy a snack together in a playful, loving way. This can help create a more positive relationship with food and make your child feel more comfortable talking to you about any future issues they may have.

Bottom line: It's all about creating a safe and open environment where your child feels comfortable being honest with you and discussing any future concerns they may have. With a little patience and understanding, you can create a plan that works for everyone and supports the growth and development of your child’s relationship with food, which sets them on a path towards a lifetime of healthy habits!

So give these a try and let me know how it goes! For many of my clients, leaning into sweets and helping kids feel calm about them will improve their overall relationship with food and their bodies. Do you need more support with your kids? Book a pediatric appointment with me today

This post was sponsored by The Canadian Sugar Institute

This post was sponsored by The Canadian Sugar Institute

This post was sponsored by

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