Trade In That Halloween Candy

Controlling The Sugar In-Take

Trade In That Halloween Candy

You've tricked. You've treated. Now, what to do with all that Halloween Candy?! We have a long tradition of trading in Halloween candy which helps control how much candy the kids eat over the next few weeks. Halloween night, after I have checked through the loot (for razors, opened packages, "God Loves You" pamphlets*) we let the kids eat two of whatever they like. The next day...we start the trading.

 Make Piles For Sharing. My kids love to sort their Halloween loot into organized piles. Smarties with Smarties. Chips with Chips. They voluntarily make piles for sharing with others. For example, Grandma LOVES Reese's Pieces so any and all Reese's go directly to the "Grandma pile." Then, there is candy the kids just don't like (for example, anything with nuts—they just don't like nuts). So there is a "Don't Like" pile (which either goes to the office or the garbage).

 Trade Up. Offer your kids a trade up for their Halloween candy. "Trade in 1/4 of your candy for a movie afternoon." (You could also offer hosting a play date with a friend, date day with a parent, extra toy time). This gives them control over what candy they choose to trade and gives you control over how much candy is out in the open. You don't have to throw it all out—just put it away—and distribute slowly over the next few months.

 Trade With A Sibling. My oldest daughter dislikes chocolate (crazy huh?!) but loves chips and popcorn. My youngest daughter is the opposite (they complement each other that way). So they are open to sister-to-sister trades to get what they prefer. Works for them and for us parents.

*And yes, the kids did get "God Loves You" pamphlets last Halloween. I guess someone was eager for All Soul's Day.


How To Make A T-Shirt Hobo Bag

a great birthday party craft that also doubles as a loot bag

How To Make A T-Shirt Hobo Bag

Hobo bags are a tween trend these days. From a school bag to activity bag to purse the hobo is a hit. Also, it's a great birthday party activity—as it is hands-on, practical and makes a great loot bag. In under 20 minutes, you too (or your tween) can DIY a hobo bag.

Here's how!

Get a clean t-shirt (here we are re-using one of Dad's basic white ts)

Start by cutting bottom of t-shirt one inch in. Keep the end because it will become the strap to the bag.

Cut slits in the bottom of the t-shirt (about an inch apart). Do same with each arm so that there are slits on the bottom of t-shirt, the left arm, and the right arm)

Knot the slits together. (bottom of t-shirt, left arm, and right arm)

Cut the neck as large as you wish the opening of your bag to be.

Cut a V-slit in each of the shoulders of the t-shirt and knot the strap through the slits; creating a shoulder strap fixed to the bag (remember: the strap is the bottom of the shirt you set aside earlier).

Decorate with fabric markers, Sharpie permanent markers, stickers, glitter glue...

Tthis hobo bag was used all summer for swimsuits and towels on trips to the pool.)



Prevent And Protect Your Kids From Cyberbullying

Stop Cyberbullying Now

Prevent And Protect Your Kids From Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a hot topic this weekas it should. A 2011 KidsHelpPhone survey on cyberbullying reported that 65% of the child respondents said YES to having been cyberbullied. Cyberbullying is a real and present danger for our children. How do we, as parents, prevent our kids from being cyberbullied? How to we protect them from the dangers of virtual frenemies and outright enemies?

What is Cyberbullying?

According to Wikipedia, "Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner."

This includes: embarrassing, threatening, hate messages, posting humiliating pictures, stalking, revealing confidential information, intimidation, and harassment.

"Related technologies" include tools, such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Forums
  • Chat groups
  • Instant messaging

These corners of the web are our kids hangouts; however, some kids (or groups of kids) turn these hangouts into rooms of horror.

What do we, as parents, do?

  1. Discover your kid: Be supportive and open. I know this is sometimes hard to do in our busy lives, but take the time to sit down with your kids and share conversations about your day. What good things happened? What bad things happened? Show interest in their lives, hobbies, and activities. Watch for signs of cyberbullying (change in mood, withdrawal from activities or school, or emotional distress).
  2. Have the talk: Ensure your child knows how to use the internet responsiblykeep passwords private, and no sexting, mean texting, posting inappropriate pictures (the internet has a long memory of images), sharing personal information, etc. Bascially, if you wouldn't want your Mom to see or hear it, you shouldn't post it.
  3. Block it: Set up parental controls for kids, so that you have some control over what they see, do, and visit on the internet. Learn how to unfriend someone on Facebook or block specific people on Twitter.
  4. Know their online life: I'm not saying virtually stalk your own child, but be aware of where they go on the web. Friend them on Facebook and visit their wall once in a while to see postings. Follow their Twitter feed. Do a quick internet history browse on your computer and just glean where they have been spending their time online.
  5. Tell them to go to a trusted teacher or kidshelpphone.ca (1-800-668-6868): FREE, confidential, and anonymous (you don't have to tell them your name, if you don't want to), it's a Canadian service where kids and teens can talk (or chat online) with a trained counselorday or nightabout a problem. Their website also has a lot of great information for parents.

Cyberbullying goes beyond mean, into a world of instant, long-term hurt. Do what you can to prevent and protect your kids.

65% of kids being cyberbullied is 65% too much.

For more on cyberbullying and what you can do to prevent it, click here.