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May 2010 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family / Columnists / Twice the Advice

Not enough time - and too much sugar

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Dear Twins,

My husband and I have two small children ages 2 and 4 in daycare as we both have full time jobs. By the time we pick them up after work, feed them, bathe them, try to spend a few “quality” minutes with them, then cook something for ourselves, it’s time for us to go to bed. There are just not enough hours in the day to do all the things that need to be done — even with both of us working at it. When to shop, do laundry, clean, change the beds, etc, etc? How do other parents manage?— Exhausted

Kerry says:

The name of the game is “balancing it out”: Do the things you have to do but then leave the “should do” pile at bay. Fact is, you can never get all the work you set aside to do done, so don’t be unrealistic. It is, however, mandatory for you to enjoy yourself at least an hour or two a day. If you don’t, you’ll pay the consequences.

Jacqueline says:

Welcome to the world of parenting. I agree with Kerry. Today many moms are at work and all the housework that used to get down while the dads were gone all day, isn’t getting done. But if you don’t make the time for rest and fun, you will never find it. It won’t just appear out of nowhere, because there is always something to get done. You must pen in on your calendar two-to-three times a week and call it “My time.” It can be a half hour, an hour, or a full evening. But it is yours. (You must not be doing any work, cleaning, emailing, and calling — none of it.) This is time you set aside for you. If you commit to this “down” time, you will find you actually do get all your chores done, just faster and more efficiently. The unimportant chores will fall by the wayside.

Dear Twins,

I have two healthy children ages 7 and 10 and they are terrific kids. The problem is they love sugar and they want it all the time. They constantly whine and beg for it, until they wear me down and I give in.

I am very healthy myself and try to cook healthy food for my kids as well, but I just don’t want to push it on them as my mother did to me. Sugar just makes them hyper and unmanageable. At bedtime they are too hyped up to sleep! In the morning I can’t get them up and they are cranky and downright irritable. The cycle just keeps repeating itself. I am worn down from badgering them and I just want to give them whatever they want. Is there a solution?

— Sugar Tooth

Jacqueline says:

Let’s not forget who is the mother and who are the children. You are the boss. The only way kids can walk all over you is if you let them. (If it goes in their mouths, you were the one who bought it, btw). But let’s address the sugar issue. Seems to me your kids are addicted. I suggest you wean them off slowly as to forgo any more begging and whining. Fruit is a fantastic substitute for processed sugar. Furthermore, fruit is full of vitamins and fiber and doesn’t seem to make kids erratic and hyper. What I might do is incorporate fruit along with dessert at first (say berries with vanilla ice cream). Eventually, offer a nice bowl of chopped mango? Always have melon or grapefruit with breakfast. I would add bananas to cereal and, while you’re at it, make the cereal half sugar cereal and half a whole grain cereal. For snack let them enjoy large slabs of watermelon. Replace sugary drinks with seltzer. You can make terrific lemonade mixed with water, ice, lemons and Stevia (an all natural sugar substitute). Keep a pitcher in the fridge. Also, increase the level of proteins throughout the day, as lack of proteins increases cravings for sugar. I learned that one a long time ago when I was a vegetarian and constantly craved sugar). And, absolutely, no sugar three hours before bedtime. If they even think of whining about it, they’ll go straight to bed with no dessert at all.

Kerry says:

I don’t know. I think the whole idea of forcing your kids to eat healthy is all in vain. They are kids after all. And while I don’t think we should encourage our children by stocking the fridge with junk food, I nonetheless don’t see any real alarm in this. For the most part, kids adopt more mature, healthier eating habits as they get older. The only red flag here is if you notice your child treading towards obesity. Then it becomes more about an eating disorder, which can lead to more problems later in life, and less about a little too much junk food. So here’s a suggestion, perhaps your children would benefit from joining a sports team. This ought to tire them out and let you enjoy some peace and quiet.

Updated 4:12 pm, July 13, 2010
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