As a pediatric dentist, Bachelorette alum Ashley Hebert Rosenbaum sees a lot of cavities. A lot.
So, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, she’s sending son Ford to school with some sweet gifts that won’t impact his classmates’ dental hygiene – but are sure to generate smiles.
“I think that it’s a really cute and creative idea for parents to look beyond candy on the holidays and especially Valentine’s Day, which is notorious for chocolate,” Hebert Rosenbaum tells PEOPLE.
The mom of two‘s career has made her much more conscious about the importance of a healthy diet at a young age – something she realized was easily at risk as soon as Ford started attending school.
“[On holidays] each parent will send something, so if you have 10 kids in your class, or 15 kids, your kid is coming home with 15 pieces of candy,” she explains. “What I always tell parents is, ‘You are shaping the things that your child eats and drinks for their lifetime at a young age.’ So it’s like: choose wisely. If you’re always giving them sweets, they’re going to be more likely to want to eat sweets in the future.”
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A good rule of thumb, according to Hebert Rosenbaum, is nothing sticky. “Taffy, gummy bears, gummy worms – stay away from that kind of stuff,” she advises. “I see that causing a lot of cavities in really young kids because it sticks to their teeth and it stays there, even though they’re brushing.”
“I think that Valentine’s Day and the holidays are a good way to choose something that’s non-candy related out of respect for the other kids in the class,” the 32-year-old says.
Hebert Rosenbaum suggests things like crayons over lollipops, and says she plans on gifting Ford’s classmates a pair of aviator sunglasses with a Minted card that reads “You brighten up my world.”
“It’s just being creative,” Herbert Rosenbaum says. “Anything that’s going to promote them doing something, an activity, versus eating candy I think is a good thing and it’s a fun way to explore creativity around the holidays.”
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Hebert Rosenbaum also uses this approach to Ford’s everyday diet: “Typically, his meals will be a meat, or like a lean protein with a vegetable or a fruit for desert.”
Presumably, life as a family of four has added new challenges to the Rosenbaums’ routine, but the star says it’s “been a really easy transition.”
“I was worried,” she admits, “Because Ford requires a lot of attention. But Essie is such a good baby. She sleeps all night, she’s a great eater. She’s an awesome baby — really it hasn’t changed that much. Ford loves her too and loves having her around so that makes it really easy to combine activities.”
She tells PEOPLE that they’re a “very active” family, sharing, “We just have a lot of fun.”
And the foursome will do just that on Feb. 14.
Says Hebert Rosenbaum, “We’ll definitely do something fun with the family.”