A few weeks ago, we started going through a really tough phase with P.
Her tantrums were reaching epic proportions. She would be very uncooperative and refuse to listen at key moments, like leaving the house in the morning, going to bed at night, getting into the bath tub and other higher stress situations. She started talking back a lot. For example, if I asked her to please listen, she would respond with, 'no YOU listen.'
Um yeah. It was clear I had a little threenager on my hands.
After a particularly terrible moment in which I had to full-blown wrestle her into her car seat and she scratched and grabbed my shirt collar, I was feeling at the end of my rope. And I did what I always do...I asked my mom what to do.
The first thing she asked me was: how much sugar has she been having lately?
Somehow I forgot about this post where I detailed how we got her off of sugar to aid in her bedtime routine. Somehow we had gotten to a place where dessert was a daily norm. Somehow we'd gotten to a place where she expected a sweet treat everyday at daycare pick up. And then wanted a pack of fruit snacks upon arrival home. And then negotiated her number of dinner bites before she could get yet another treat.
I sat in the car replaying the last bunch of weeks (months?) in my head. So much sugar, like a waterfall over the last few months, kicking off with Christmas, then her birthday, then Valentine's Day. Sugar, sugar, sugar.
That evening, I ran home and made popsicles out of Greek yogurt, blackberries and maple syrup. My mom suggested putting some rainbow fruit skewers together. I cut up big batches of fruit and put all of the fruit snacks and other treats on a high shelf in the cabinet where they'd be out of sight and out of mind, saving them only for a special weekend occasion.
The next day, I had strawberries packed and ready to go in the morning. Shaun brought a banana and a cheese stick for her at pick up time so she could choose what she wanted. In the evening, I got her pumped about trying the new 'ice pops' I made especially for her. She never asked for anything else.
And she behaved like a different child. She had zero meltdowns. She was happy and agreeable and only once asked for a piece of candy (a lollipop, her favorite treat in case you were wondering). I let her know that she could have a lollipop on the weekend. And she said OK and went back to her fruit.
I was totally amazed. We kept this up for a couple of weeks, allowing her some orange juice and one sweet snack after dinner. I push for berries and whipped cream but I also allow her to have a small scoop of ice cream or a cookie if she wants. But it's limited to one sugary item at one time of day.
Of course, Easter rolled around and we spent a week paying for the candy overload (are there any parents who didn't last week?) but we're working on weaning her once again.
It's amazing the effects that sugar has on our kids. I love my sweets and snacks and clearly so does P. So we'll keep working on it.
Do you ever experience sugar overload with your kids? Have you found success in cutting it out? What are some of your favorite low-sugar options for your kids?
ps: this article written by my friend Reesa on red food dye was truly eye opening for me.