Saturday, 7 May 2011

New rules

May has brought us down to earth with a bump with the end (finally) of the rather self-indulgent Easter holidays and a visit to the dentist.

All was fine tooth-wise, apart from slight wonkyness in the junior teeth which may or may not need fixing at a future date - but we were warned about very early signs of decay.

Now we've been down that road before as parents and don't plan to travel it again. On (very long) journey home from Devon on Monday, mindful of just how self-indulgent we'd been and the fact that my jeans were tighter than they had been at the start of the holidays I had formulated new rules.

Back at home I consulted websites (Aquafresh, Change4Life, something mad and hippy which I ignored...) for advice and came up with the following which I have written down and everyone knows they must follow:
  1. Sugary food and acidic, sugary or fizzy drinks at mealtimes only. Drinks must have a straw (this helps stop children washing drinks around their teeth). Chocolate and sweets are lovely treats and nice to end meals with.
  2. In between meals we can have fruit, vegetables, cheese, savoury biscuits, rice cakes and crackers, breadsticks and oatcakes, bread or toast with butter. Drinks can be milk or water.
So that's only two simple rules, which we have followed since Monday. Surprisingly there has been little resistance - even from H's friend who is also used to our habit of having 'Friday treats' and didn't bat an eyelid when we didn't go to the shop to buy sweets nor when she asked for lemonade and got milk instead. (I figured she would have had lots of Easter chocolate too).

My observations so far? The main one is that all of us are less inclined to snack between meals just for the sake of it and only if really hungry. It seems we're more than capable of finding a little corner for chocolate and sweets at any time. We don't necessarily want it after meals either so consumption has been drastically reduced.

The second is that they now eat the food I put on the table at mealtimes because they are hungry and haven't filled up on rubbish in between meals. Much, much better from a parental point of view.

They're also drinking more milk which pleases me - all that lovely bone and tooth-building calcium - and I have a real hatred of squash (except the blackcurrant kind in a bottle an hour into a long run).

I'm not sure how we slipped into such bad habits (H didn't have any sweets or chocolate at all until she was about two years old) but it's easy to do especially when they see other children seemingly having sweets every day and ask, ask and ASK for some too. It's too easy to give in to such demands and too tiring to constantly say no, no and NO BECAUSE I SAID SO!

From now on there is no longer the 'oh, go on then' (sigh) just for an easy life, because it isn't necessarily an easy life when such actions have consequences (at regular mealtimes and beyond).

Se we now have new house rules* (to add to the existing which are don't jump on the furniture, draw on the walls, call each other names or hit each other) and they apply to everyone, big, small, visitor or resident.

*DISCLAIMER: Rules can be bent on holidays, birthdays and special occasions.


  1. Sounds like good advice.
    I am thinking of ways to drop a few kilos.
    All that Easter chocolate!!

  2. Ah ha, fizzy drinks we don't have at home, but G9 does so love them as a treat. We have natural juices which I guess are just as sugary, great idea about the straw. Will be using that one. Funny she's been asking for milk to drink lately, now I know where it has come from, thank you xxx.

    Tend to have fruit and vegtables in, but also love rice cakes, bread sticks and oatcakes, another brilliant idea for me (oh and G9). Must get into the habit of stopping the snacking too - especially when we are out and about, not sure how we let that happen either. Usually we don't supermarket buy or make many sweet things, but she does now have a lot of chocolate to get through ;). I might have to help her, you know just to save her teeth of course, I'm such a selfless mummy....

  3. Chris - I'm hoping it'll help me drop a few pounds too! Yes, so much chocolate (and I do so love chocolate).

    Lins - We don't normally have lemonade either, but Bri had a bottle in the fridge which gave them the idea (drinking it was very much H's idea rather than G's!) I've been helping my two with their Easter eggs as well - purely to save their teeth of course!

  4. Don't blame yourself too much. Teeth have their own rules too. My son was spoiled by doting grandparents who generally disregarded any of my restrictions on sweets (and toys!) and he grew up with perfect filling-free teeth, which, at almost 40, he still has. There's no accounting for it!

  5. All these teeth preservation tips seem very good to me. I am so fortunate (in some ways) to have grown up in a time of pinched pennies, when our mealtime beverage was definitely milk.

    Cocacola or Pepsi or Dr Pepper were only available very rarely ... never to be thought of as a daily infusion.

    I still remember a 9th grade (maybe 14 years old) science class experiment when my lab partner and I showed the rest of the class how quickly Coke could dissolve teeth. Where did those teeth come from? My lab partner's dad was a funeral director.

    Sixty years later, I still remember this lab experiment. And truly don't have all that many fillings in my teeth.

    Best wishes to you and your family's teeth!

  6. It all sounds very sensible and not at all draconian !
    Your other house rules , though !Would you really stop me jumping on the furniture and drawing on the walls if I came to tea ? Spoilsport .

  7. Rachel - I think my two have inherited the teeth part from their Dad. That's who I choose to blame anyway!

  8. Frances - You can dissolve coins with Coke too. My kids have never tried it (to my knowledge). Mind you Chardonnay wine is almost as bad I hear!

  9. SmitoniusandSonata - Feel free to come and jump on my sofa. For you I'd make an exception.


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