Recently, my daughter’s daycare providers started giving her a sucker every day just before she went home. This appeared to be the work of a vigilante teacher or two, not a center-wide policy. The first day I was a little surprised … you’re giving a sucker THAT big to a kid less than 3? Just for existing? Then, it happened the next day. And the day after that. Drat. It had gone on for a week … and counting.
I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule (try to eat pretty well most of the time and splurge for that remaining 20% or so). But at this rate 80/20 was starting to look more like a 50/50 raffle.
I can certainly make tough decisions and discuss tough topics when I think it’s important, but that doesn’t mean bringing these things up doesn’t sometimes stress me out. Especially when my child is involved. If I said something, was I going to be one of “those” perfectionist moms who constantly complains and has a kid that no one likes? Were the teachers going to retaliate against her during the day by treating her differently? How the heck do I address something that doesn’t primarily involve me but my daughter? Where to begin?
Thank goodness etiquette expert Lizzie Post was willing to share some fabulous advice. She explained things in a way that I couldn’t quite articulate or see quite so clearly on my own. She was a lifesaver.
Lizzie had some great advice worth writing down: It’s not IF you say something, it’s HOW you say something.
Lizzie further explained (I’m paraphrasing):
- What NOT to do: Walk into my daughter’s daycare room to pick her up and say something aggressive like, “You need to stop giving her junk. This is ridiculous!” This would immediately put them on the defensive and make it hard to get them out of feeling this way.
- What to do instead: Never feel guilty about managing your child’s care, whether nutrition-related or on a broader scale. That needs to be part of the agreement between you as a parent and any care provider. But managing delivery is important, especially for situations that can be sensitive.
- Try: Starting the conversation by saying something like, “I’d like to meet to talk for just a few minutes. If now is OK, that can work.” While it won’t be a fully comfortable conversation, it’s one worth having, especially if it involves the health of your child.
- Try: Addressing the issue/starting the conversation with messages like:
- Giving my daughter candy every day is pushing her a little over the edge with sugar intake …
- We’re an 80/20 family. Treats are certainly OK in our house, but we’re trying to teach my daughter moderation …
- My daughter is starting to expect candy every day, and I don’t want her to get too spoiled with such a special treat …
I’m happy to report that I followed Lizzie’s advice and my daughter is no longer getting candy every day at daycare. The funny thing is that it’s actually more stressful to not say something and be upset about the junk food than to quickly get a little stressed, address the issue and then reap the benefits. It also feels good to be an advocate for your kiddo. Catastrophe averted. Thank you, Lizzie!