It is no secret that we need to pay more attention to our children's nutrition and physical activity needs. The habits we help them establish now are habits they are going to take with them throughout their whole lives. Sometimes, however, it is hard to actually make the health and wellness things we see or hear a part of our daily life, whether we are a parent making sure the children aren't sitting around or your a child care provider serving a menu created by your center or a family child care provider fresh out of ideas to make your environment even healthier than it already is.
I wanted to share some resources and suggestions to help you in your different caregiver roles! These aren't the only tools for you, but a good start for now. Stay tuned for more.
This parental toolkit features benchmarks to help parents understand how their children are developing. The health and wellness section specifically addresses nutrition and physical activity. It is separated by grade, provides benchmarks and then gives parents easy to read and follow tips as well. For example, choose Pre-K Nutrition and click get started. You will discover arrows to click and read through what it means to serve children fruits and vegetables, how many to serve and what "how much" looks like. There are even tips for oral hygiene, sleep, physical activity and hygiene. The grade levels go through high school.
I learned that 32 seedless grapes are equal to one cup, which is what a Pre-kindergartner should be eating everyday. What did you learn from the kit?
Also, love this infographic about added sugars!
This is an online tool that can be filled out to help you achieve your health and wellness goals for child care settings. Anyone can take the assessment (it's free!) and print out the results to determine how your child care environment can better serve your children. If you are a center teacher and had some ideas to improve snacks or physical activity time taking this self assessment would be a great conversation starter.
If you are a center director or family child care provider, this self assessment helps you not only determine how your environment can be better but actually provides you with a workbook like PDF with the best practice and step-by-step examples and directions for making and implementing your new policies!
This dynamic learning experience is THE way to help any person who serves children food. You get to think about the type of eater you are, consider what your child's eating behaviors are and then get an understanding of how those assessments will help you raise that healthy and happy eater! Who knows, maybe your eating habits might change a little too. It is well worth the time, for a lifetime of feeding the children in your life nutritious meals happily.