We are having some serious problems with our almost 5 yr old daughter. She is obsessed with sweets although we do not buy many for her. She will do anything to get them regardless of the consequences. She will lie, manipulate, steal, or just do anything to enable her to get her hands on junk food. She does get some treats periodically but within reason. Do you have any suggestions for us? It’s getting worse and her obsession increasing. Please help us with this dilemma as this is very apparent to all my family and friends. She is also chronically constipated so it’s a real concern.
It’s natural for many children to have a “sweet tooth.” Children’s stomachs are smaller than those of adults, and they often become hungry more often than we do and can suffer from low blood sugar. Much craving for sweets is actually mild hypoglycaemia.
Many children would do better with several small meals a day than with the three large ones we tend to prepare. Start off your daughter’s day with a glass of juice, even before she gets up. Then give her healthy snacks or small meals several times a day: breakfast, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, dinnertime, and evening. That should diminish her hungry feeling.
I doubt that the constipation is a result of eating sweets. It is more likely to be a result of insufficient fibre in her diet. Invest in bread and cereal! The added fibre will help her digestion. You can buy some organic cereals which are sweetened with fruit juice; these are both healthy and nutritious, and will help with the constipation.
Remember that some sweet things, like fruit and dark chocolate, are actually good for our health. Keep some of these on hand for snacks or as a reward for eating something nutritious.
Don’t be too hard on the little girl if she does steal or lie. She is not yet old enough to understand the meaning of truth and falsehood. Many children at this age have difficulty controlling their impulses, and also tend to say what they think adults want to hear. Remove temptation by not keeping non-nutritious sweet things around. If they aren’t good for your daughter, they aren’t good for you either, and they only tempt her to steal and then lie about it.