I wrote a few weeks ago about how to address situations when care providers are loading your child up on more sugar or junk food than you’d prefer. It was quite cathartic to write about, so I thought I’d touch on a few more etiquette topics in relation to managing folks who have different ideas about feeding your kids than you do.
Jodi R. R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting was incredibly kind and offered some fabulous advice for just these situations. She words things so well – she’s great at the “velvet hammer” concept.
At a Party
Parties are not avoidable. Between school parties, birthday parties, open houses, holidays and any other iteration, they are nearly impossible to avoid. “If you see it coming, divert,” says Jodi. She explains that if someone is getting ready to hand your child a huge piece of sugary cake, pass it along and ask the person for one half that size. “Thank you so much, let’s give this one to Bobbie. May we have a smaller one, please?”
Or, Jodi recommends, gently grab the cake as well as a second plate, cut the cake in half and then give it to the child. “Ooh, look! Enough for mommy to have some too. Let me cut it in half and you choose which side you want.”
At Grandma’s House [or insert other relative’s or friend’s name here]
Here’s another common situation. Grandma says, “Oh, please just let them have one more cookie,” setting you up to be the bad guy. You know the scenario. It usually comes with a look that suggests “When I was a parent, we gave our kids cookies all the time and they turned out just fine.” Jodi has a great response: “That is a great idea. Please wrap it up for a special treat in tomorrow’s lunch.” Brilliant.
Jodi notes that, if this is an ongoing issue, it is important to get proactive and take preemptive action. Talk with Grandma. She gives a great sample conversation starter: “Grandma, we have such a great time at your house and I know you love to spoil the grandchildren. Can we spoil them with activities and staying up late instead of sugar?” Thank goodness for Jodi’s great advice!