Our Christian preschool and daycare center is concerned about what our children watch on TV, how much sun they get, and medicines they are prescribed. But getting kids to eat healthy is a subject all its own. That is why our early education center has created this page on our site for you to understand and to help guide you to understanding a preschooler’s nutritional needs. It’s only natural to be concerned about their diets. Generally, the basic eating habits your child learns as a preschooler will remain lifetime eating habits, so read on for tips on feeding your youngster (and family!) a healthy diet outside of their time at our daycare center.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that from birth to five years old, “Your child’s diet will balance out over several days if you make a range of wholesome foods available and don’t pressure one at any given time.” Obviously, if you only offer doughnuts and fries, your child will be unable to compose a balanced diet as his or her body dictates. If you’re not only concerned with what but how much your young child eats, Beansprout.net contains detailed information on appropriate infant and child serving sizes from birth to age 12.

Babies 0-12 months rely on breast milk or formula to provide all (from 0 to 4-6 months) or most (from 6-12 months) of their required vitamins and minerals. Regardless of what Aunt Minnie may tell you, your baby will not sleep better with cereal in his/her stomach before 4 months. Actually, that situation could endanger your child. Your child’s biological clock is set to wake him or her for feedings every 1 to 3 – 4 hours, so as to ensure adequate vitamins and minerals are taken in as well as to discourage dehydration.

Children from 1-2 have begun eating solids but require a mere 1,000 calories a day! The appetite now adjusts itself to coincide with a slowed growth rate during the second year. Expect erratic eating also. One meal your child may seem starved, eating everything offered including seconds; the next few he or she may eat only a bite or two of a favorite food, if you’re lucky! Due to the independent nature of the toddler, he or she may be more excited about eating if allowed to feed him/herself finger foods. Continue offering 3 meals a day with snacks spaced the day and always remember to following your doctor’s advice, of course.

As far as serving sizes, the USDA states, “From the time an infant starts solids (4 to 6 months of age) until the age of 6, the recommended serving size for fruits and vegetables is one tablespoon per each year of life. After age 6, the recommended three or more servings of vegetables and two or more servings of fruit per day is based on a one-half cup serving size, which is the same serving size for adults.”

When you’re searching the web for “daycares near me,” the closest one might not be right if it isn’t focused on the nutrition your child receives. If you recognize the importance of food in early childhood education, contact Children’s Ark Academy to learn more!