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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Nov-Dec;45(6):558-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Creating potential for common ground and communication between early childhood program staff and parents about young children's eating.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO. Electronic address: susan.johnson@ucdenver.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To explore child care staff and parent perspectives and communications about children's eating in child care.

DESIGN:

Focus groups (FGs) conducted with child care staff and parents.

SETTING:

Four Western states in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS:

Thirty-nine child care staff in 7 FGs and 25 parents in 6 FGs.

PHENOMENON OF INTEREST:

Thoughts and concerns about children's eating and opportunities to improve communication between staff and parents.

ANALYSIS:

Content analysis (FG coding inter-rater reliability: staff = 0.74; parents = 0.81) and identification of meta-themes.

RESULTS:

Three meta-themes were identified: (1) recognition of positive influences of the child care setting in children's development of healthy eating; (2) concerns about children's eating in child care and at home; and (3) strategies to improve communications and transactions related to children's eating.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Staff reported that their roles included informing parents about food at mealtimes in child care (eg, menus, recipes) but also educating parents about child nutrition and feeding. Parents valued daily information about their child's eating to adjust home mealtimes and to feel connected to their child. Barriers to effective communication included limited time and concerns regarding parent reactions and defensiveness. Staff requested training about child nutrition and feeding and about sensitive communications with parents.

Copyright © 2013 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

child care; child nutrition; feeding behavior; nutrition education; parents

PMID:
23769298
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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