We need to have a little heart to heart talk.
I know you love my children and I’m so grateful for that and all you bring to their life. My children love you to the moon and back and the time you spend with them is precious and so important for you both. I want that to continue and I want you to build a loving unique connection that only you can.
But, let me be perfectly clear. Love does not = sugar!
My request to you is that you stop using sugar and lollies to connect with your grandchildren.
I want to explain to you why these are NOT treats and what your spoiling (whilst totally well intentioned) really does to the kids and impacts us all. These things you give do no favours for children and while you may get a small amount of connection when giving them lollies – the impact is far more prevalent than you may be aware of.
The ingredients in lollies and things you think are ‘treats’ are not the same as when you were young. They are filled with things that didn’t exist when we were growing up. They are sooooo different now! FOOD HAS CHANGED.
They contain chemicals made in factories that didn’t exist 20 years ago in our foods. There are now additives in foods that have not been proven to be safe for kids. Daily consumption of these additives have quadrupled in the last 50 years and there are NO long term studies to show the impact on kids and disease. What we do know is that artificial dyes, artificial colours, MSG and preservatives which are present in many of the ‘treats’ you give them, are clearly linked to behavioural issues and learning difficulties.
These chemicals and additives impact brain chemistry and can cause inflammation and sickness. The things that make them brightly coloured and appealing to kids are that way because they contain these dyes and artificial colours. Some of these colours are actually banned for kids in some European countries due to the proven adverse effects on health and development and the neurotoxicity (yep toxic to the brain).
Australia is slower to ban these things but all the research shows that they do nothing to help kids health. They send kids into overwhelm and they rot teeth and it makes them crave more and more sugar. It’s incredibly addictive. When you give them these things it feeds this addiction. I know they love you for it. I know you love giving it to them. But many times these things are actually poison to their growing bodies – and I know once you understand this – you will think twice about making these choices because I know how much you love them and want the best for them – just like I do.
I know you think it’s an occasional thing and there is no harm in it. But I need you to understand it’s not just an occasional thing. Exposure to these foods is happening all the time. Sporting games, birthdays, Christmas, after school, when they get a haircut – it’s relentless!
It makes it so much harder for me to feed them real food and vegetables when they are offered so much sugar! It makes my job as a parent harder, not easier.
Our culture around giving kids sugar at every turn is really out of control. It’s so frequent that it’s considered normal.
This is why I’m asking for your help. This is why I’m asking you from this point forward to please stop.
Please respect what I’m trying to achieve for them here which is to nourish them and raise them into the healthiest kids they can be.
You have a unique role in their life and could help me so much by encouraging healthy food choices and reinforcing the importance of eating real food made from scratch – just like you used to have when you were little!
There are so many other ways to connect with your grandkids that don’t have to involve buying them sweet sugary things!
Here are a few ideas:1 - Play with them - Encourage them to play - take them to parks, on walks, to the beach, and take the time to really play with them. Do the things that you have time for that I don’t in the rush of being their parent.
2 - Tell them stories - not only the ones that you read to them but the stories out of your head from when you were little. Tell them about what it was like growing up for you and all the adventures from your life. Tell them about travel and about other countries. Fill their brains with stories from your childhood.
3 - Cook with them! Not just sweet things but savoury meals. Teach them the lost art of cooking from scratch and teach them one of your favourite dishes so they know how to make it and can eventually make it for me!!
4 - Give them an experience - not toys. They don’t need anymore stuff. Toys or disposable stuff that they won’t appreciate in the long term. Show them new places, meet new people, experience new things!
5 - Craft - Teach them to knit and sew and do pottery and woodwork and create things with their hands. Help them with their dexterity and teach them these lost skills that you were taught as a child. Help them to create and to build beautiful things with their own hands.
When you have finished then cut up a big plate of fresh veggies and fruits and eat them together and talk about the beauty of real food!
Thank you for loving them the way you do. I appreciate all you do for them and with them and thank you for supporting me on my endeavour to raise the healthiest kids I can raise.
You are wonderful grandparents and I so appreciate being able to have conversations that matter with you.
Lets tackle this one together!
So many wonderful and insightful comments on this blog. You can read all of them on my Facebook Page HERE:
P.s While this is my own mum and kids pictured here this letter is not directed at my wonderful mum Rose who is an incredible role model around whole food choices for my kids, but rather a voice for the hundreds of letters I've received over the years from parents battling with this issue and unsure how to address it. This letter is written with love to grandparents and families to help them understand that a team effort is required with supporting real food choices and less lollies and sugar. Lets talk about it! Alisa x