Many children share meals and activities with other family members and friends.
48% of children ages 0–4 with employed mothers were primarily cared for by a relative—their father, grandparent, sibling, or other relative - while she worked.
24% percent spent the most amount of time in a center-based arrangement (day care, nursery school, preschool, or Head Start).
14% were primarily cared for by a nonrelative in a home-based environment, such as a family day care provider, nanny, babysitter, or au pair.
Parents regularly identified family members (spouses and grandparents) as saboteurs and influencers that impact their ability to promote and integrate healthy active habits into their lives.
In general, parents felt more comfortable approaching child care providers to talk about healthy active living values when the childcare provider was paid.
If this service was provided in kind by family or friend, it was more challenging.
There was sensitivity about offending the provider regardless of whether they were paid or unpaid.
Assess parent and family support around healthy active living and identify barriers around healthy eating, routines, and activity.
Remind parents that everyone loves the child and wants what is best for them. That is usually a great place to start these discussions.
Ask about their comfort level with their childcare situation and ask if they feel supported in their healthy active living goals.
Let families know that it is their prerogative to negotiate healthy active living for their preschooler.
Provide an example conversation starter for the parent when speaking to a child care provider: Thank you for all you do to care for our baby. We are so grateful. We were recently at the doctor and discussed…… can you help us with this goal?
You’ve assumed an important job in raising your child. Is there anything/anyone that’s making your job difficult?
Can you tell me what family members or friends share meals and/or physical activity with your child?
Can you tell me how you feel about the influence of family and friends on meals and activity time?
How does it feel for you to talk to your family and friends about your desires for a healthy active life for your child?
Does your child’s eating or activity behavior change when they with family or friends?
How are things going with childcare?
Do you know what and how much your child is eating?
Do you have any concerns?
What are your feelings on talking about healthy food and activity with your childcare provider?
Is there anything that we could talk about today that would help you feel more comfortable talking to your childcare provider?
Get your family on your team!
For realistic parent derived strategies about parents and childcare providers working together, refer parents to
healthychildren.org/growinghealthy: Parenting Tips Preschoolers
Related HALF Messages:
If your child is in preschool or daycare, talk to the teachers so they know what foods you want your child to eat. You may need to have the conversation more than once. Don’t feel like you are being annoying or pushy — you are the parent!