Sunday night your little goblins, witches, pirates and fairy tale princesses will be dragging home bags full of Halloween candy.
Now like any good parent, you will want to go through the bag with your child. Maybe you don’t want them to eat all the sugary hard candy or squirrel away bubble gum that somehow appears in their hair the next morning. Maybe you want to limit them to an assortment of favorite candy bars. Snickers was a real get in my house. At this moment your little princess or pirate will make a sour face and loudly protest that it’s not fair that mommy or daddy is taking candy from them. Whoever popularized the notion that something was as easy “as taking candy from a child” did not have children and, therefore, never experienced the outrage of a five-year old Dracula or the weepy indignation of a Strawberry Shortcake. What is a concerned parent to do?
I suggest you and your child lay the Halloween loot on the kitchen table in order to decide how much and what kind of candy your child keeps. Sort by type. This is a good lesson for the little ones. Instead of counting all the candy, arrange in rows of 5 or more and then multiply to find the answer. You’re taking inventory just like a candy shop owner would.
Now after you and your child have determined what and how much to keep, offer to buy the candy you don’t want your child to have. Why not a penny for each of the hard candy, 5 cents for the candy bars and so on? The idea is to have your child do the math. Let your child see the value of what she or he has collected. A few dollars in exchange for the candy can be saved for a special non-candy treat. Your child has not only learned a math lesson but also a lesson in entrepreneurship: this much candy earned me this much cash. “Hmm, how much can I collect next year?” your child may be thinking. So this Halloween taking away some of your child’s candy will seem less of a mean trick and more of a . . . fair exchange.
[Image from 97thfloor.com]