stop feeding them sugar

Why I wish you’d stop giving my kids sugar


stop feeding kids sugar at school

This post is a bit of a departure from my usual calm writing, but I needed a bit of a rant.

Why I wish you’d stop giving my kids sugar

Now before you wonder, I’m not totally against giving kids sugar. And I’m not going to go all Jamie Oliver and demand a ban on all sweet stuff. But there’s a time and place. I try to feed my boys as much healthy food as possible. I make meals from scratch when I can – Bolognese, cottage pie, curry etc. rather than using jars of sauce. Don’t get me wrong, we do have sausages or fish fingers and chips with beans a couple of times a week, and the occasional take away, but on the whole we try to keep it low-salt and low-sugar if we can.

So it really peeves me that the majority of Boo’s classmates bring in multi-pack bags of Haribo to ‘celebrate’ their birthdays. I’m not against sweets; I keep a secret stash of jelly babies in the cupboard. We just don’t eat them often and don’t make a big deal of it when we do – like linking them to special occasions.

Yet Boo is constantly having the message reinforced at school that if it’s someone’s birthday, we must eat sugary things. That probably contain e-numbers. And once he has that bag of sweets, there’s no getting it out of his grubby little paws unless I fancy a full-on meltdown in the middle of the street. You may not be force feeding sugar to my child, but you might as well be. How am I supposed to teach him that sugar isn’t healthy and should only be eaten in moderation if he’s given party bags bursting with the stuff every week?

kids and sugar - a good mix?

What irritates me the most is that other parents are putting me in this position. I don’t want to be party-pooper mum who storms into school demanding that Boo isn’t given sweets. How will that make him feel to be left out like that? Again, not fair and I bloody hate that others are putting me in this position. Plus, you might think you’re being kind by giving out the sweets, but it’s not you who’ll be dealing with a hyperactive child for the next 3 hours. Thanks for that by the way.

The final straw for me, is that the school merrily dishes out these sweets on parents’ behalf. Yet when I ask them to give my child the antibiotics he’s been prescribed they tell me their ‘no obligation policy’ (though they’ll offer to do it anyway but conveniently forget, forcing me to go into school at 11am each day to make sure he has it). Thank you school. You won’t help me get my child better from Scarlet fever with his medically prescribed antibiotics, yet you’ll happily dish out sugar-filled junk that puts my child at risk of tooth decay and obesity.

You might think I’m overreacting. But consider this. There are 30 kids in Boo’s class, and 39 school weeks in the year. Even if someone’s birthday falls in the holidays they make up for it on the first day of term. That’s a lot of birthdays and chances to give kids sugar. Most weeks Boo will bring home sweets of some kind – that’s a lot of potential tantrums.

Why does it always have to be gummy, e-number infused sweets? Why not boxes of raisins? There’s plenty of ‘healthier’ alternatives if you look in the dried fruit and healthy snack section at the supermarket. And yes, I know dried fruit is also high in sugar; at least it’s the natural variety and there’s more health benefits than the empty calories offered by sweets.

There’s plenty of excuses as to why they won’t stop feeding my kids sugar (and my response):

  • It’s tradition (only if you make it that way)
  • It makes the kids happy (and hyperactive, and fat)
  • It’s only on special occasions (yeah, so ‘special’ it happens every week of the year)
  • Health food is too expensive (No. 12 boxes of raisins are 69p at Aldi when I last checked)
  • It’s up to me as a parent to say no (Yep, I just love those ‘I want sweets!’ melt-downs in the middle of the street outside school while all the other mums look on and judge me.  Please don’t put me in that position, I’ve got enough crap to deal with)

Surely I’m not the only parent to feel like this? Well, even if I am, rant over. I feel stacks better now. Calmness will resume shortly…

P.S. If you do feel the same, I’d love to hear from you!


The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

Author: Mindfully Mummy

Sarah is a writer and mum to two energetic boys. She practises mindfulness daily and loves sharing practical mindful tips with fellow parents. Sarah has a degree in psychology, writes at Blue Fox Copywriting and blogs for various sites about lifestyle, careers, parenting and well-being.


  1. This is a great post! I HATE when ppl give my boys sugar without asking. Everyone thinks I am so mean but it gets my oldest hyper and is really not good for them. I totally agree with this rant! #justanotherlinky

    • Thanks Jennifer 🙂 Me too, I feel like mean mummy when I say no! The thing is, the boys now have a psychological link between birthdays and sweets which is going to be really hard to shift. The school is just as bad, they give sweet treats to reward good behaviour in the classroom!!

      • That is how it was at daycare. They were feeding my kids so much crap. They were very mad when I asked to see what they were being fed….chocolate caramel rice cakes for breakfast, chocolate cupcakes, cookies and jello for snack! Needless to say pack my kids food now! But people think I am soooo mean! My child’s behaviour has changed 10 fold. Why they would torture themselves by hopping kids up on sugar I will never understand.

        • I know! It’s really hard when nursery and school are feeding kids this stuff. So often I’ll pick up Tiddler and they’ll say ‘he had some sweets about an hour ago and is a little hyper now. Sorry!’ Why give them in the first place then?! Honestly, I don’t want to go in there to start a row or be the ‘square mum’ who isn’t fun but I wish they wouldn’t do this…

  2. We need to meet, I feel we’d be great friends from reading your posts!!! I feel exactly the same! I’m like you, we have treats like biscuits, cakes and icecream now and again but I properly hate actual sweets. I am a mean mummy and I have a cupboard full of the stuff that has been ‘confiscated’ for their Dad to eat. They understand, (mostly!), though and I’m not a total cow, I let them have one or two from the packet and then take the packet away. I explain how bad they are for their teeth and how much other rubbish is in them. (Geletine I’m looking at you!) I’m noticing a direct correlation between my kids behaviour and their sugar intake and it actually scares me. Rant away, I feel I’m joining you in the comments! #bigpinklink

    • Thanks Louise! Sounds like a plan, I love your posts too. It’s always nice to meet a blogger who’s on the same wavelength 🙂 Am glad other mum’s feel the same about sweets. I’m like you, I let them have one or two occasionally but hide away the worst ones. I’ve got packets of jelly beans and those drumstick lollies lurking at the back of our cupboard…

  3. Argh haribo is evil! I have just never seen the point of it. I am the first to admit I am no saint when it comes to feeding my child healthy food all the time, but I am proud to say he has never had actual sweets (chocolate, cake and biscuits yes, but not sweets). He’s not quite two though, so I have all this to come. #bigpinklink

  4. We do sweets for special ocasions but thats only a few times a year. I feel your pain though because everyone else in my family just loads mine with sugar everytime they see him. Drives me nuts cause then he begs for it at home.

    I always get told its our job to spoil him. #bigpinklink

  5. This is so so true and I agree 100%! My daughter is only 2 and a half so doesn’t go to school yet but family members always feel the need to bring a big old bag of lollipops or sweets overtime they come over, which is nice of them and all, but seriously? I’m trying to feed her healthy stuff and busting my butt making stuff from scratch and than you come waltzing in the door with not 1, not 2, but a whole bag of lollipops in your hands and suddenly I’m the bad guy and you’re the hero. I know they mean well and all but it seriously frustrates me 🙁

  6. I couldn’t agree more! The Mrs. and me have practically decided that any sugar at all, birthday cake, ice cream, etc. has to be eaten directly after breakfast so that the sugar will wear off by bedtime….oy. #bigpinklink

  7. I’m fairly relaxed about it as if they get sweets then it’s balanced by fruit or vegetables. I understand your frustration around being undermined and fighting against something becoming a tradition.

    We haven’t really encountered it yet but we do have to contend with best intentioned undermining by their grandma who insists on coming round with sweets in her bag and playing out the farce of “don’t go in my bag, oh! I see you found the sweets” usually just before dinner time.

    Your comparison of the medicine vs sweets stance is interesting. Wonder how they justify it?


    • Yes, it’s definitely the feeling of being undermined that bugs me! And the tradition! – apparently it’s 3 of Boo’s classmates birthdays today. He said gleefully ‘that means 3 bags of sweets after school!’. This afternoon’s school run should be fun then. As for the medicine – the school have a ‘no obligation policy’ of giving kids medicine. Probably to cover themselves if they forget and it leads to medical complications. Still frustrating though when your child is on antibiotics 4x a day…

  8. Mine aren’t at school yet but I would hate this! Though studies have shown categorically that sugar doesn’t make children hyperactive. But there are a million other bad things it does do, like increase obesity and tooth decay as you say. It’s a tough one to avoid too. #bigpinklink

    • I’m not sure it’s the sugar that makes them hyper. We have sugar in lots of other things at home – cereal, biscuits etc. But some of those sweets just seem to flick a crazy switch in their heads! I had to stop giving Boo Zoom lollies as he was literally on the ceiling for an hour afterwards! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. I agree with you. Especially on the Haribo E packed sweets that tend to be what’s brought for these occasions. My boys are 6 & 9 & know we don’t eat that type of sweets. I don’t mind if it’s good chocolate. Like you I’m not against a treat but not the ones with bad ingredients. #bigpinklink x

    • Hi Becky, yes, those e-packed sweets are just the worst aren’t they? We never seem to be given mini bags of chocolate buttons which I don’t have such a problem with. Haribo seem to have conquered the party-bag market for some reason. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  10. I totally agree with you and this is a brilliant post! It should be us parents deciding when out children get sweets. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    • So glad you agree. I didn’t want to have a go at other parents, what they want to feed their kids is their choice, but when it’s imposed on me, then I have an issue.

  11. Pingback: Big Pink Link 16 - The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

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