Things to Consider when Planning for Physical Activities in Child Care

Boy on wooden balance bike

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in early childhood. Child care providers can play an important role in preventing obesity by helping children stay active and learn the importance of physical activity. Here are 15 things to consider as you help the children in your child care program stay physically active.

  1. A major reason for the growth in the rate of childhood obesity is lack of exercise. Children today are less active, and the rates of childhood obesity are growing

Eating Behaviors and Challenges in Child Care

Infant eating baby food

Feeding young children healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks supports their growth and development. But what can a child care provider do when children suddenly stop eating, or refuse to try new foods, or insist on eating one specific thing for every meal? The following articles address typical changes in young children’s eating habits and food preferences at different ages, and provide some tips for ensuring that children develop healthy attitudes about food.

Nutrition and Physical Activity in Child Care

Children pulling wagon

Ensuring that children grow and thrive is an essential part of the child care provider’s job. Feeding infants appropriately, serving well-balanced meals and snacks, preparing and serving foods safely, providing regular opportunities for children to be physically active, and teaching healthy habits are all important ways that child care providers can support healthy eating and physical activity, and reduce the risk of childhood obesity in our youngest children.

The following articles include specific information about feeding practices, healthy food choices …

Meals and Snacks in Child Care

Boy eating snack at picnic table

Meal and snack times in child care can be a great opportunity for introducing new foods and healthy eating habits. Eating times are also a wonderful chance for children to practice self-help skills and learn how to have mealtime conversations. Invite children to talk about their families and pets. Encourage discussions about where foods come from and discuss the colors of different foods. Show children how to set the table and count out silverware, cups and plates. Meal and snack …

Take Time to Savor Meals and Snacks in Child Care

Boy eating orange at table with other children

Child care providers play a crucial role in helping young children learn healthy eating habits. Mealtimes and snacks in child care can be great learning opportunities for young children. Children can learn to identify and choose a variety of foods, practice language skills, and build relationships with teachers and other children. Child care providers can help make mealtimes a learning experience by setting up a relaxed, unhurried mealtime. Here are some tips to make mealtimes a relaxed and enjoyable time …

Guidelines for Choosing Nutritious Foods for Children in Child Care

Fruits at fruit stand

Child care providers play a key role in preventing childhood obesity by ensuring that children have access to healthy meals and snacks that meet their nutritional needs. The foods that a child care program serve to children can affect their health and well-being, and can influence their lifelong eating habits.

Children’s bodies need a variety of foods daily to get all the nutrients necessary for good health. The following five recommendations will help child care programs plan healthy meals and …

Money-Saving Food Tips for Child Care Providers

Piggy bank and coins

Feeding children in your child care program can be expensive. With careful planning, serving healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks that meet children’s nutritional needs does not need to break your child care budget. Here are some money-saving food tips for child care providers.

  • Spend food money wisely. If you plan carefully and buy food on sale and in season, you can serve children nutritious meals with less cost. Participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program can lower your

Tips for Child Care Providers to Promote Healthy Attitudes about Food

Toddler eating pear

As children grow and experience new foods, child care providers may notice changes in eating habits or attitudes about certain foods. The following are important tips for child care providers to prevent unhealthy attitudes about food.

  • Accept different levels of food intake. Never force a child to eat. It is normal for children to eat a lot one day and almost nothing the next. If you offer choices from each of the food groups every day, children will adjust and

Typical Eating Behaviors in Young Children

Toddler eating roll

Dealing with eating challenges such as picky eaters and food “strikes” is a common challenge in child care. Remember that children grow at different rates, and their appetites, food preferences and eating habits change as they get older.

When you’re caring for a group of children, how do you know what eating behaviors are typical? Here are some of the most common milestones.

Ages 1-2

  • Has less appetite as growth slows
  • Is weaned from breast or bottle, especially during the

Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers and Infants in Child Care

Breastfeeding room in child care

Breastfeeding provides important nutrients for babies. Some mothers may wish to continue breastfeeding while their children are in child care. They may choose to adjust their work schedules so they can come and nurse the baby at your home, they may collect and store breast milk for you to feed the baby during the day, or they may have you feed the baby formula during the day but continue nursing at home. The following information about breastfeeding babies can help