Thank goodness it’s Friday! People proclaim this all over the world at the end of the working week. But the kids in my family have been saying it lately because of our new little tradition -- a tradition that I happen to love too. Because it could NOT be easier to implement and works really well: We have Friday movie night.
It isn’t really that complicated a tradition. After dinner on Friday, the whole family gathers ‘round the TV screen to watch a movie together. We take turns picking movies, which is nice, because I think otherwise the boys would pick “Star Wars” pretty much every week. This way, Craig and I have introduced the kids to movies we love, like “Old Yeller,” “Condorman,” and -- recently selected by Craig -- “The Red Balloon.” Boy was that a hit!
The other part of movie night is that we allow candy! It seems like my kids are collecting candy almost every day of the week. They get it in Sunday school, at Cub Scouts®, in their classrooms, at birthday parties, and from the cashiers at the grocery store. Candy is great, but I don’t really want them to eat it every single day. Again, this isn’t about diabetes, per se, just that I don’t think daily candy-eating is healthy! So we’ve come up with a solution where the kids surrender their candy as soon as they get it. It goes into my big black bag, from which they can get it back on Friday as part of their treats if they choose. Right now, each kid gets three pieces of candy from the big black bag to eat while watching the movie.
There are so many things I love about this system:
1. It comes on the tail end of a big, healthy meal.
2. The whole family is spending time together in a way that they really love.
3. The treat-eating (and movie-watching for that matter!) is part of a social event, and it isn’t tied to a reward -- it’s just part of a fun tradition.
4. The kids really don’t pick extravagantly huge pieces of candy. I’m always surprised that they’ll pick a small sucker or a fun-sized candy bar as one of their three pieces.
5. I can make sure the kids brush their teeth really well that night -- also part of the tradition!
6. Craig and I usually stay up after the kids are down to watch a movie of our own, which makes it easy to keep an extra eye on James’ blood sugar levels.
7. Lastly, I love that we no longer have to stress about the odd piece of candy that might come at a very inconvenient time (while James’ blood sugar is high or right before dinner, etc.). The kids hand over their candy throughout the week without any reservations -- they KNOW they’ll see it again within a week.
Over time, we’ve been using the black bag to contain leftovers after our Halloween candy binge and candy from stockings not consumed on Christmas Day. Our candy bag is actually bulging at the seams right now. I suppose that’s another plus -- I cannot remember the last time I actually had to BUY candy. I’ve got my stash for the next year, at least. That means we’re also well stocked for any impending lows. I wish ALL family traditions could be so easy and fun to implement!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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