What can you do when other parents let their kids graze at the playground...
And they're happy to let your child join in the "fun?"
The short answer is, set some guidelines about when your kids eat their snacks, and about how much they can mooch on any one day. I'll get to the specifics in a minute.
In case you're just catching up, this is the third post in a series on coping with junk on the playground.
Ali wrote to me with a problem she was having: Other parents were filling her kids with crap at the playground. What could she do? Instead of giving a straight-forward, short and simple answer, I said that she really had four different problems and each one needed a different strategy to solve it.
- How to cope with the less than stellar food her friends serve to their kids and, by extension, to hers.
- The fact that her friends let their kids graze, but grazing ruins her daughter's appetite for meals.
- Not being allowed to eat junky treats makes her young daughter food obsessed.
- Being denied the snacks she wants also makes her daughter have major meltdowns.
Also, read Do Kids Need to Snack?
Lessons children need to learn about snacks.
- Snacks are meant to tide you over until the next meal. They're not meant to fill you up.
- Snack times have a beginning and an end. Read Should Toddler's Snack on Demand?
These lessons build on the lessons about proportion that I discussed in my last post.
So how do you teach these lessons at the playground?
Here are some ideas. Teach your child to...
- Ask you before snacking at the playground. This will take some time to perfect but it will solve a lot of problems in the long run.
- Snack sitting down. This works particularly well if you add that he needs to eat from his special "snack" cup. This would entail putting the food he "scores" into the cup before eating.
- Score only one snack from someone else. After that she must snack from your supply.
- Accept snacks when they're offered if he wants the snack but that he shouldn't mooch off strangers or grab his friend's stash.
- Stop eating when you say snack time is offically over.
Will these lessons require your child to learn self-control?
Will your child get it wrong some of the time?
Might these guidelines produce a meltdown?
Sure, but responding to a meltdown is a behavioral problem, not a food problem. I'll address it later this week.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~