How to Deal with those Family Members Who Just Want to Give Your Kid Sweets
Every family has one (if not more) – a grandmother or aunt or second cousin who loves to sneak the children lollipops and ice cream cones when their parents aren’t looking. To some parents, this is just part of the fun of growing up among extended family. To others, this can be infuriating and undermine all their efforts to maintain a nutritious diet for their children. Regardless of your stance, here is some advice for finding that perfect balance for handling the pressure of food offered to children from other extended family.
#1 Be laid back!
I know this is often easier said than done, but the more relaxed we can be at large family gatherings – or when leaving your children in the care of other family members – the better. Of course, make sure your child doesn’t show up starving so there is less of incentive to eat copious amounts of sweets. Also, consider talking with your child about the plan in advance to discuss what food options might be available and what some of the best choices might be. However, once the prep is complete and your family arrives, try to relax a bit and let everyone enjoy! You might even notice that the more times you say “no” to sweets, and the pressure you put on limiting the sweets, the more your child will beg for them!
#2 Communication is key!
Like I mentioned above, it is always a good idea to prep your child by communicating in advance about what food options they can expect at the party. In addition, communicating your goals with other family members is key. Maybe your children sleep over at their grandparents’ house once a month or maybe their aunt takes them out for dinner every other week. Try to have an open conversation about your food preferences for your child. They can only honor your wishes if they know what they are.
#3 Be sensitive (to your child’s needs)!
Parties and family events can be very overwhelming for both children and adults! Lots of new people, loud conversation, unfamiliar food. We can’t expect our children to act the same way they would at a Thanksgiving dinner as they would at a quiet Monday night dinner at home. Make sure to be sensitive to the different environment and recognize that eating may be a flop! Focus on what you can control like the meals and snacks leading up to the event rather than the one unpredictable meal at the party.