Grandparents are roots of the family & has an ever welcoming attitude towards life. They are always there to offer their cool shade to the next generation. Grandparents support is the secret ingredient in feeding young kids which leads to your peace, harmony and fulfilment in nurturing family.
“Grandkids are a grandparent’s greatest treasure. From time to time during grandchildren’s young lives, grandparents may have the pleasure of being their caregiver. How beautiful it would be if you show them how to be healthy, including how to make healthy food choices–an important way grandparents show how much they love and care about their grandchildren.
Feeding a baby or a toddler is a challenge for most of the dadi’s and nani’s (grandparents), as they get confused by modern latest researches, commercial availability in the market, innocent about allergies in child, and at last surprised by a overly suspicious young mother of the child. But when a mother is working on balanced meal plans, limit sugary treats, all of a sudden becomes all in vain with one visit to a grand mom’s home. It can be very disheartening.
We know grandparents mean well. But this can create a family strife where feeding styles don’t align.
So what do you do: express your unhappiness or say nothing and let that binge eating happen?
As with every parenting, you have to do what seems best and handle everything what works for you best. But if you need advice, here are my two cents: sometimes its necessary to speak up, sometimes its okay to let it aside as its only LOVE, help them, guide them & talk to them.
Parenting the family with healthy eating habits involves the entire family.
Working with grandparents to build a balance of freedom and restriction for your child can be challenging at times. Stocking healthy food for your children can be the first step to help and make sure that they offer and serve nutritious food.
But demonstrating healthy habits and guiding kids into healthy eating entails more than that. Here are more steps for a grand mom to foster healthy eating habits for lifetime:
- Don’t reward good or bad behavior with food. Impress your mom by how she can be also the primary nurturer and can help your child to create a healthy relationship with food. Encourage to keep food away from emotions. Instead, help your caregivers to reward the good behavior with extra 10 minutes play time in the park or choice of reading a new book.
- Cut down on juice. You don’t want juice, but your parents loves it. Stock it in your pantry but watch out the intake. Excess juice intake (12-30 oz.)by young children may dwindle the child’s appetite which ensue in low food intake and poor growth. So help them with practical solution. Remember Dixie cup, 4 oz of the same is the right proportion for the young children. Offer 100% juice in correct proportion. You can mix the juice with water for a carbonated treat!
- Encourage New Foods. Research shows that the child matures in toddler years and no of required exposure to new foods will help the child to accept new food. It takes relatively few exposures to infants and almost 15 exposures for a 3-4 years old. 15 exposures are quite a lot, so remind the parents not to give up. Continue to encourage healthy eating and adding variety, eventually the child’s plates will expand. Talk to you caregivers/parents about encouraging statements to provide around food. It would be a great idea if you ask your mom to offer two vegetable choices, and allow the child to choose. Kids will often eat more of the vegetable they chose, feeling empowered. But relax, and don’t make it a food fight if the child say no. Instead, encourage your mom to offer the same food, prepared different, cooked, raw, roasted, shredded another day.
- Eat a Rainbow. Its important to teach healthy eating habits from a young age. Make it fun and ask the grandparents to let the child choose four colors from the pic of a rainbow. Then ask them to come up with one fruit or vegetable in each category. This gives the child choices while ensuring a well balanced meal. Then you can also play a game and track how many colors kids ate each day after coming back from work.
- Be positive and encouraging. The best advice is to lay the ground rules with your parents upfront. Be positive and nice always. You can always share your feelings that it’s important for us to take care healthy eating, so our child gets less sick and grows optimally. Make it easy for your parents with easy tips on the fridge and healthy meals and snacks in the pantry.
Spare the time to sit with your parents and discuss the strategies which both are working on, are working or not so that you both can be united and enjoy the child’s matchless growth and be the primary nurturers of the family.
Share the love if the guidelines helped your child and your relationship with your parents and in laws. I will be happy to listen your success stories in comments.