Douglas shares a great tip for teaching kids about the relationship of sugar to sweetness while at the same time controlling how much sugar they dump on top of their cereal:
(From an anonymous friend, paraphrased):
We swore off sugar-based cereals and cereals with marshmallows or other nonsense. “No sweety, that’s not cereal. That’s candy.” This is fine, as the kids actually like Grapenuts, Cheerios, and even plain oatmeal. They do find them a bit bland however. And their freedom to dump sugar onto their cereal was becoming a dangerous condition.
So, instead of keeping a sugar shaker or a sugar bowl on the table, we now keep small sugar packets (in the cupboard!). Each kid gets one sugar packet with their breakfast, and they can use it however they want. BTW: these are pretty small packets. They come in a variety of sizes, if you hunt.
This leads to endless analysis, the occasional sugar hoarding, and the determination by one child that Life cereal was “actually sweet enough, so I use my sugar packet for lunch sauce [applesauce].” Interestingly, they now really like to microwave their Grapenuts, convinced that it somehow makes them sweeter. The little scientists might be on to something…
Side Note: On their birthdays, they are allowed to choose a box of whatever cereal they want. Because candy for breakfast on your birthday is a basic human right.
Ha! I grew up putting raisins and sugar on my Cheerios, but my kids have never gotten in the habit of doing so — we don’t have a sugar bowl on the table. In fact, encouraging them to sweeten cereal with dried fruit is a great way to avoid the simple sugar.