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How To Get Your Kids Off Sugar

Battling to keep your kids away from sugar and sweets? Pat Fitzpatrick takes a look at 15 ways that are supposed to help you fight the good fight. (Don’t take them too seriously!)

1. Say No To Juice

Britain is about to ban fruit juice ads aimed at kids. This is a shame, because juice is a great way to cut ongoing dentist costs, by making sure your kids have false teeth by the age of 10. Seriously though, here’s a quick message for governments taking a stand to protect our kids from dangerous drinks – if you try and protect us parents by restricting our access to cheap prosecco, we’ll vote for someone else.

2. Say Yes To Fruit

It’s easy really. The next time you are at the supermarket, pick up a bag of apples, oranges, bananas, kiwis and seven scented candles for the bathroom. Let’s put it this way - it’s great to see your child getting her five a day, as long as you’re not the one who has to wipe her bottom.

Read Next: How To Include Healthy Options In Your Child's Diet

3. Brushing?

Be careful what you wish for. We got our kids brushes and toothpaste to get them into the habit for later life. They showed their gratitude by using tooth-brushing as a delaying tactic before finally getting into bed. We try not to shout, “Don’t bother brushing them, they’re going to fall out next year”, because our neighbours can be very judgemental.

4. It’s Non-Negotiable

Your child wakes up every morning asking for two chocolate digestives. You try to negotiate with him. Big mistake – a toddler never loses a negotiation. They start out asking for a custard cream and end up with a packet of chocolate fingers and a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. (You threw that in at the end, just to get the little guy off your case.)

Read Next: What Is A Threenager And How Do You Deal With One?

5. Ice Lolly?

Year one with our first child, my wife added freshly squeezed orange juice to water and froze it in a lolly maker thing. Year two, we ate Magnums all summer long. We  preferred year two.

6. Cold Turkey

Thinking of cutting out sweet treats altogether? First watch the scene in Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor decides to go cold turkey, and give up heroin. You see, skeletons crawling on the ceiling is a lark compared to a three year old who has just been told he is getting dried prunes instead of ice-cream for dessert. 

7. Give Up Sweet Treats Yourself 

Ha Ha. Very funny. Did you ever try stand-up? 

8. Okay, Get A Secret Stash

Now you’re talking. Forget about wine o’clock. 8pm in Ireland is better known as Wispa O’Clock, for parents of small kids. Some fools tried it as Crunchie O’Clock, only to discover that a sleeping child can detect the slightest crunching sound through a solid wall. So stick with the silent Wispas. (And hide them where they won’t be found, with your sex toys.)

9. Porridge

The best thing about giving porridge to your kids is that you get to make other parents feel bad about themselves. (Trying to poison their own kids with sugary cereal first thing in the morning. How could they?) The worst thing about porridge is that it tastes of disappointment, every morning for the rest of your life. So 1: Load it up with honey, 2: Don’t tell your friends. 

10. Raisins?

Let’s just say there’s a ‘rayson’ kids go mad for a box or 10  of these lads as a snack. It’s the same rayson they are still awake at 1am, asking if it would be okay if they went out clubbing. According to the NHS website, raisins can contribute to tooth decay. The approved alternative is to give your kids blueberries, because they turn their lips blue and everyone can see that you are #AmazingDad. 

11. Take The Biscuit

“I’ll give you a custard cream if you do it.” Like most parents, I weep with gratitude when I see a packet of biscuits. I don’t think I could rear my kids without them. However biscuit parenting isn’t the kind of thing you can admit to your friends. So you’ll need a go-to healthy cake recipe. Carrot cake is popular and it lasts for up to four weeks, mainly because your kids won’t touch it with a barge-pole. Just saying. 

12. DIY Pasta Sauce

Some jars of pasta sauce are basically a sugar bowl with an Italian name on the front. I suppose it was too good to be true, the way the kids cheered like crazy when you announced pasta for dinner. (And you thought they were showing appreciation for your incredible ‘stir-in’ technique.) So bad news time – you probably should make  your own pasta sauce. (And add two tablespoons of sugar when no one is looking. Look at you, turning meal-time back into a pleasure.) 

13. DIY Barbeque Sauce

Same as above. To be honest, anything that comes in a brightly coloured bottle is probably a no-no for your kids. (Unless it’s Calpol.) Some people say you need to make your own spice rub for your kids. I say it doesn’t matter, kids will never enjoy a BBQ half as much as you do, because it doesn’t give them an excuse to skull a six pack of Heineken on a Tuesday evening. (Unless it does, in which case, aren’t you very liberal?) 

14. TV

You know how that goes. “Can we have a treat while we’re watching Ben and Holly?” “No.” “We’ll keep coming out asking for one and you won’t be able to look at your phone in peace.” “Here’s a Kinder Egg each, now leave me alone.” Sometimes you just have to buy them off with TV and sugar for a few minutes. Maybe keep it to once a day though, or they’ll end up watching themselves on a show called Big Fat Kids with Lazy Parents. 

15. Talk To Them

Finally, it’s important to tell them why you are cutting down on sugar. It’s even more important to brush your teeth beforehand so they don’t spot the remains of your sneaky Wispa. (Kids are sharp that way.)


About the Author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city with his wife and two small kids. He gave up a decent job in I.T. in 2008 to head for the lucrative world of writing. So don't hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. Pat is a regular on the on the RTE Today show with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé and pops up frequently on radio shows such as the Right Hook. All of this is a bit too much like hard work, so he has started writing novels which will hopefully fund an early retirement to a hammock in the back garden. His first novel, Keep Away from those Ferraris, is available online and in shops outlined here http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/novels/. Pat’s kids are both under two, so if you don’t mind, he is now going for a quick lie down.

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