My mum and dad help with childcare we have a four year old and a two year old. My mum is really good about what to give them for tea but I’ve found out my dad will give them sweets in the car sometimes. We only give sweets at the weekend as a treat and then in small amounts. How should I tackle this?
Thank you for your question. Here is your answer from Dr Emma Haycraft
Great to hear from you. What you’re describing is really common and many of us struggle with how to tackle this – when grandparents are helping with childcare, we don’t want to offend them, but there’s loads of research showing that grandparents are more indulgent than parents and sometimes this can be unhealthy.
It might help if you explain to your dad that children have a natural preference for sweet foods and that eating too many of these can contribute to health problems, like overweight or diabetes, later in life. You could refer him to our Child Feeding Guide, where we explain about why children like unhealthy foods to much (see here: http://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/common-feeding-pitfalls/unhealthy-food-preferences). Sweets in moderation, and as occasional treats, are fine, but children will quickly learn to associate going in the car with eating sweets and habits established early in life often persist throughout life. If you have a weekend rule then you could ask him to give the sweets to you so they can go in the treat tin.
We hope this helps!
Co-developer of the Child Feeding Guide
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