Our pediatric dentist does something that I love after Halloween.
Every year her office provides a candy exit strategy for parents, like me, who are up to our eyeballs in the miniature candy bars our children have collected from our neighborhood.
In turn, the dental office pools and packages the goodies, sending them to those serving overseas. I think this is a brilliant idea – and, surprisingly, my kids have gotten into it as we prepare to drop off all but one Ziploc of candy to the office this afternoon.
My five kids collected two heaping bowls full of candy and each will keep what amounts to a few handfuls.
I’m sure they’ll be packing their Sour Patch Kids into their lunches or eating them over the next several days – fine by me.
I had no objections from my five little ghouls – until yesterday when my daughter started to pack her candy up.
“Daddy? You know there is a witch that gives presents for your candy?” Vivi mentioned.
“Really? Who said?” I asked.
“My fiends leave their candy at their door and the next day they get stuff – like American Girl clothes. Just smaller stuff, but toys,” Vivi continued.
I knew where this was going – so, I went into defensive dad mode, replying, “I’ll have to ask your mom if she knows of such a witch because I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
As it turns out, I may have been late to the party on this one – the Switch Witch is real, and, I’m finding, prevalent.
The concept, as I see it, is simple: parents convince their kids that if they agree to give up their goodies, the Switch Witch will provide them a reward on November 1st. The outcome is simple – parents keep their kids away from the dreaded sugar and chocolate. The little ones, in turn, don’t complain because they get something in exchange.
Another great idea, right?
The only thing is – I HATE IT!
Let me start by admitting that giving kids something in order to take away something else is an easy way out.
I do it all the time – yesterday my son came with me to get a haircut simply because they provide Dum-Dum suckers.
That said, I’m over the excessive gift-giving!
Do parents really need to create another reason to give more worthless trinkets to our kids?
If goal is controlling the candy intake, can’t we simply say “No” or “only 1 per day”?
Aren’t the real, gift-laden holidays right around the corner?
I’m seeing a trend that I’m trying to stave off – parents that are creatively finding ways to avoid simply saying “No”.
This trend perpetuates itself everywhere:
- over-scheduled kids with activities every night (guilty)
- exhausted parents whizzing through the drive-thru to squeeze in dinner (somewhat guilty)
- $20 from the tooth fairy (no way – $2 to $4 from me)
- rooms full of toys from Christmas you’d gladly pay someone else to take (YES!)
I’ll stop short of saying that ideas like the Switch Witch create entitlement – but, really, I find it hard to believe these type of exchanges do not contribute in some way to that mentality.
My kids have too many things and too little perspective – that is my fault.
That’s why I’m thankful that our dentist, in some small way, will provide my children with a bigger world view – albeit, for only a few moments and without stealing my Baby Ruth’s, of course.