Exploring the Role of Grandparents in the Feeding of Grandchildren Aged 1–5 Years

Emily Rogers, Lucinda Bell, Kaye Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Early childhood is a crucial time for the development of eating behaviors and food preferences. With increased labor force participation by Australian mothers of young children, grandparents are acting as the main informal carers of grandchildren. Therefore, grandparents have the capacity to influence the feeding of young children and thus their eating behaviors. Design: Eleven semistructured qualitative interviews. Setting: Suburban Adelaide, South Australia. Participants: Grandparents (n = 11; 9 grandmothers and 2 grandfathers). Phenomenon of Interest: To gain insight into grandparental perspectives, beliefs, and opinions regarding the feeding of grandchildren aged 1–5 years. Analysis: Interviews were manually transcribed and coded, and codes were synthesized into common themes. Results: Four major themes emerged: (1) intergenerational differences (between grandparents and parents); (2) maintaining familial relationships; (3) treating grandchildren with food, and (4) nutritional efficacy. Grandparents thoughtfully managed familial relations, including intergenerational differences, in relation to feeding grandchildren. They showed some cognitive dissonance with regard to provision of treat foods (defined as discretionary foods) in which grandparents simultaneously prioritized healthy foods and treats. Conclusions and Implications: Grandparents’ social role in the complex psychosocial space of child feeding warrants serious recognition and deeper understanding to engage them fully as stakeholders in children's nutritional health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Volume51
Issue number3
Early online date11 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • attitudes
  • beliefs
  • children
  • feeding
  • grandparents

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