Monday, 19 March 2012

Breaking the Chocolate Habit in My Toddler

It really is amazing the effect that a change in diet can have on a toddler. In the run up to Christmas Ben got into the habit of having chocolate. It all started with the chocolate Christmas tree decorations which he found ingenious ways of reaching even when they were relocated out of his reach until we finally decided to remove them all together. Being a typical little boy who loves to climb we saw him standing on his trike, climbing up on his little step (or “steppy” as he calls it) and balancing on his tip toes, pushing his Tripp Trapp highchair alongside the tree and scaling it and even resorting to using a stick which he brought in from outside to knock the chocolates down. He really did go to great lengths and I have to say it felt like he deserved his reward of a little chocolate at the end. Then of course there were the advent calendar chocolates and what with gifts of chocolate and an abundance of boxes of roses and celebrations about there was no escaping it.

At first I thought well it is Christmas and kids have extra chocolate at Christmas don’t they? The problem was it became a habit, he was having too many chocolate treats everyday and was asking for a “choccie bar” all too frequently, tantrum after tantrum ensuing when and if he was refused. Deep down I knew his new found love of chocolate was wrong and not a habit I wanted him to develop so about a month ago I decided it was time to put a stop to it.

We went to the supermarket and Ben helped me to pick lots of different fruits along with his usual strawberries, apples and grapes. We came home and stocked up the fruit bowl with apples, pears, plums, bananas and so on. Next thing I knew Ben was bringing his “steppy” into the kitchen and grabbing a piece of fruit. He completely forgot about “choccie bars”, instead asking for “a juicy pear” or “a shiny red apple”. His change in eating habits and his view of what a treat is happened overnight and I am glad to say the number of tantrums we now experience has markedly dropped.

When we get to the fruit section in the supermarket now Ben always gets super excited, you could say he is like a kid in a candy store, pointing out different fruits he would like to try. The result being we come home with lots of different things, his all time favourite being pineapple. As a family we are all benefiting and eating a whole lot healthier too so it is definitely a case of win-win all round for us. I am so relieved that we have managed to nip the chocolate habit in the bud easily and quickly and get Ben to return to his former fruit loving ways. Surprisingly if he does have the occasional chocolate now he no longer even seems that bothered about it and will often ask for a piece of fruit instead.

It really is all too easy to slip into bad habits when it comes to kids and unhealthy treats but with a little gentle persuasion and the right approach I believe these ways can be stopped as quickly as they were started. I have definitely learnt my lesson and can see clearer than ever now that we, as parents, are responsible for developing the eating habits of a lifetime in our little ones and how important it is to lay the right foundations when it comes to healthy eating. Times like Christmas and Easter will always mean more chocolate is about and while you can’t deny your child completely I believe it is just about having a healthy approach to letting them have some and not allowing it to replace fruits and other good snacks or indeed continue as the norm once the festive season is over. I have seen first hand the benefits of healthy snacking in my toddler and I won’t be making the same mistake again in allowing him to have too much chocolate.

* Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and contains a sponsored link.


Lisa | said...

Recently we've been noticing that we were falling into the habit of too many treats - chocolate and jellies mostly -  as well. I think that snacking was starting to affect mealtimes, so once I started to think that, we've cut way back. Of course, it all went out the window this weekend, when we went to visit both sets of grandparents for the weekend - but we can always start again tomorrow! :)

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