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TNC 072: Grandparents Feeding Grandchildren with Dina Rose

Grandparenting is probably one of the best aspects of post-parenthood. For many grandparents, not having to raise children frees up tons of time and energy for just enjoying them. These relationships can be really wonderful, but of course, feeding is an important piece of the relationship between parents, grandparents, and children. Sometimes, grandparents may feed kids more sweets and treats than parents may like.

To talk about this important topic, I’m joined on this episode by Dina Rose, Ph.D. Dina is a sociologist and feeding expert who teaches parents, educators, and nutritionists about helping kids develop healthy, sustainable eating habits. She’s also written about how to handle grandparents and feeding, and is familiar with the tension that can arise between parents wanting to focus on healthy eating and grandparents who love to indulge.

“Of course, we want to teach our kids to have a healthy relationship with food, and we can use the indulgent grandparents for teaching around this. But first and foremost, the memories matter. The relationship matters.” - Dina Rose PhD Click To Tweet

Dina and I talk about why it’s so common for grandparents to feed kids sweets and treats and why parents shouldn’t get too worked up about it. We also discuss the importance of talking to kids consistently and openly about their feelings around food and eating. Dina also shares when she thinks it’s appropriate for grandparents and parents to have a more serious conversation about feeding (e.g. if grandparents are frequent, rather than occasional, caretakers) and why sharing treats can create such great memories for grandparents and children alike.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why Dina switched fields in sociology to study healthy eating habits and feeding children.
  • Why putting nutrition first in conversations with kids about food can inadvertently limit their diets and their capacity for good decision-making around food. 
  • How to talk to kids about sweets and other treats so they learn how to eat healthfully before and after indulgent days, visits, birthday parties, etcetera.
  • Why Dina prefers to encourage eating in “proportion” rather than eating in “moderation.”
  • Whether Dina’s advice about eating indulgently with grandparents changes for parents who worry their children might be too heavy or out of control around indulgent foods.
  • How to help kids develop autonomy around food choices rather than a dynamic of parental control over food.
  • Why you shouldn’t worry too much about your parents spending time with grandparents and eating a bit less healthy than usual.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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