We do our best to raise healthy kids when they’re home with us, but many kids are spending a good portion of their day away from parents at daycare or school. When they’re under our influence it’s challenging – let alone when we’re not in “control” (ok, we’re rarely totally in control anyways!).
I have a few friends who are considering daycare options right now, which is never an easy task. There’s so many questions to ask and it’s easy to overlook this or that. Coincidently, I recently received an announcement from one of Mrs Obama’s Let’s Move initiative partners, Nemours, with tips on what to look for to see how your potential daycare provider will support the health of your kids.
Here’s a few questions to ask:
1. Get Kids Moving – How much physical activity do children get? (Recommendation: 1-2 hours of daily physical activity, outside whenever possible.)
2. Reduce Screen Time – How much time, if any, is spent watching videos or in front of the TV? (Recommendation: No TV for kids under the age of 2. For children age two and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and work with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen time per day, the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.)
3. Make Nutrition Fun – What sorts of food is served to the children and how is it served? (Recommendation: Children should be offered fruits or veggies at every meal, served family style so kids help themselves.) no fried foods.
4. Offer Healthier Beverages – What beverages do you serve the children? (Recommendation: Eliminate sugary drinks and serve water at meal times. For children 2 and older, offer 1% or non-fat milk and no more than 4-6 ounces of 100% juice per day.)
5. Support Infant Feeding – What supports do you have in place for infant feeding? (Recommendation: For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day; support all new parents in their decisions about infant feeding.)
Check out the Let’s Move! Child Care website for lots of free educational materials that you can share with your child care providers. There are dozens of creative ideas for teaching young children about nutrition, preparing and serving food in child-friendly ways, working physical activity into story time and more
Kids learn habits and preferences at a very young age that will be around for a lifetime. Make sure your daycare provider is reinforcing what you’re working on at home.