I would strongly suggest that you not announce "Hey kids, you can eat as much candy as you want!" There are a couple reasons for that. First, it would probably be a weird and confusing message for them to hear because it's likely the opposite of what they are used to hearing. We're not going for weird and confusing. And second, it's not really the message you want to get across (and you may not yet realize that if you're new to unschooling).
Here's why. With that pronouncement, you're implying that their immediate "want" is the sole consideration that goes into the candy-eating decision, and that's not really the case. And even deeper, with that implication, and their trust in your opinion, you're hampering their ability to fully explore the situation and discover those other considerations on their own. Things like how they're feeling in the moment (snacky? hungrier for something more substantial?), or if they want to save some for a future occasion (family movie night soon?), or if they are satisfying a taste for sweet (how much candy does that take?). At first, they may just be thrilled with the yes and have at it. But once that novelty wears off, they will begin to analyze the bigger picture, begin to discover and take into account other considerations that might go into their decision.
What can you do instead?...
Mikey (5 yr old ds) is going through his candy. I see something with white chocolate and mention I really like that.
Mikey: Oh, here, you can have it.
Me: Thanks, I'll eat it later. [chocolate and rice-a-roni together just didn't seem good to me!]
He finds another candy that dh is interested it and then goes back into the living room.
Later on, Mikey is getting another piece of candy for himself and reminds me about the one I wanted. He dumps the whole bowl out looking for it for me...
Me: I already ate it! Oh, there's the one Papa wanted to try.
Mikey: Here, Papa, this is the one you like. You can have it.
Dh: Thank you.
Mikey: You're welcome. I love to share.
Dh: <<thump>> [picks himself up off the floor]
I think to myself that this is probably NOT the same conversation going on in most of the houses in our neighborhood.
When I did occasionally get my hands on candy, I didn't share, but I was constantly forced to do so.
When my kids got home the other night, they sat down,
dumped their bags out and went to town. They decided
how much to eat. They decided if they wanted to share—and each child was VERY generous. I don't tend to
eat a lot of candy, but I have a few favorites that
they know of and they would bring me some so I could
eat it when I was ready (which most is still sitting
by the computer). Even our 4 year old—"Daddy,
here's your favorite!".
He ate a mini-bag of chips, and a large Hershey bar (well, half of it)...the rest of the candy is just sitting there. I actually found a grocery bag full of candy in his bedroom that mightve been from last year. I bet we'll end up throwing away much of this bag too.
We were confident that it was control, not access, that made kids eat, do and want "too much" before we ever considered unschooling. Others come to the idea the other way around—unschooling first and releasing other control-urges later.
Just wanted to share this for those on the fence about the food/candy issue.
Our kids went trick-or-treating Friday night and each came home with a cauldron, filled to overflowing (the size of those plastic pumpkins). They ate a few pieces that night, swapped a few, shared a few with us, and put them up.
Yesterday, as both kids weren't feeling well (colds and coughs) they watched a lot of Cartoon Network while eating, sorting, and trading candy. For breakfast, of course. ;). By day's end, I put their cauldrons up (as in on their bureaus so the dog doesn't get into it), and they were still nearly full (way more than 3/4) and DH and I each had a few pieces, too.
Today, no one has touched any.
One for the "they'll never eat anything but junk" people—yesterday evening after we got back from trick or treating and I walked past my 5 y.o. sitting with her basket of candy at the table and noticed that one of the first things she had eaten was the apple she got from our next-door neighbor.
We got him a few of his favorite foods to celebrate, one of them being a bag of Milano cookies. When he asked about them I brought him two, he took one and said, "No thanks" to the second. At that age I would have taken as much as I could get, even braved the scary masks to get candy. I was looking at him wondering how it must feel to be so relaxed about food, it must feel good.
This evening I asked Darin how his day went with the kids at work with him and specifically asked about the candy. He told me that they both came to him about three and asked for the keys to the car and that they came back with just a few pieces each and a pocket full each to give to the "guys" who work for Darin. No mention that Mom only brought one bag or that it was Moly's bag or Jack's bag.
If it were me in that situation I would have carried the bag in with me, never let anyone else touch it, never shared especially with adults, and probably would have eaten as much as I could before it was taken from me.
Halloween (prejudices against) Halloween Costumes at my house