Education is the movement from darkness to light


Education is the movement from darkness to light


Education is the movement from darkness to light

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AFFRA SCHOOLS recommend healthy balanced, nutritious diet for all children, We want our parents to be well informed in this subject matter and how important your contribution will be in your child’s life.
It’s really important for a healthy adult life and healthy relationship to food to get off to a healthy start. There is a huge amount of evidence based studies from the NHS (National Health Service UK) to demonstrate that when children are young it is the perfect time to reinforce and establish good habits of eating well and moving more and as they get older they will find it comes as second nature.


Many foods and drinks have sugar added to them, For a sweet treat, you can pick foods that are naturally sweet, such as strawberries, honey and pineapple rather than cakes and biscuits.
You can swap sugary drinks for milk – children under two need full fat milk, water or watered-down 100% fruit juice.


As well as 3 meals a day, snacks are important to keep young children’s energy levels high throughout the day. We encourage you to send healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Healthy snacks such as toast, rice cakes, homemade plain popcorn or chopped carrots and cucumber with plain yoghurt/hummus.
As well as snacks like rice cakes and pitta bread, fresh fruit is also a good choice. Never give young children nuts as they can easily choke and they are highly allergic.


Parents sometimes can substitute meals sizes as a show of affection and rather over feed children. Children need smaller portions than adults – a good way to think about how much smaller children’s stomachs are is to look at the size of their fist compared to your own. They usually know when they’re full so we let them stop when they’ve had enough rather than forcing them to clear their plate.
Young children learn from staff and parents and what they see around them, so if everyone is eating healthily, they will too.
Fussy eating is very common in children under 5 and especially between the ages of 1 and 2 and it’s usually just a phase. At nursery we are trained to deal with this and will keep offering the food, without forcing the point – praise them when they try something new but give them less attention when they won’t.


As soon as children start eating solids we introduce regular mealtimes. Sitting down to eat demonstrates they are learning good habits. Meals are at regular times and a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon is provided. Children need nutritious snacks to keep their energy levels topped up throughout the day to help them grow and develop well.


All children need at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Each main meal provided has lots of vegetables and snack time is an ideal time for nursery to boost the fruit and veg tally – chopped cucumber and carrots with hummus is delicious and popular. Remembering of course that a portion of fruit or veg roughly fits into a child’s hand.


Just take a peak at the high chair manufacturer’s age recommendation. More than likely you’ll notice they do not advise using a high chair before 4 months of age. Now some high chairs do have a recline position. Parents may find that feature convenient to use as a resting place for their baby.
Perhaps the reclining high chair serves as a good seat with a view as mom or dad preps dinner, or works out well for those hurried moments when mom or dad is bottle feeding their baby with one hand while eating their own dinner with the other.
Standard high chair: An everyday highchair with a tray that can be used as soon as baby can sit up (around six months)—or even sooner, if the model reclines. A tray attaches to serve as a table for baby.
For many parents feeding their kids is a bit overwhelming, especially in the beginning. It’s really straight forward when they are babies, right? Milk, then baby food. Simple. Things start to get a little tricky when real food is introduced and the bottles and baby food are weened away. Those babes turn into toddlers and the eating transition can be challenging.
I’m not just talking about how to get them to start eating table foods, I’ve already covered that in another post. It’s all the other things that come along with this transition like when, what, and where to feed them…. when and how do they feed themselves… how long should they sit in a high chair… etc.
Okay, if you weren’t overwhelmed already, I am probably overwhelming you now! Obviously, I am going to walk you through the most common mistakes parents seem to make and how you can avoid them to get your kid’s eating started with a good foundation. They are mostly simple things that the Pediatrician doesn’t have time to tell you or may not even know.


Going to get this one out of the way first. Generally speaking babies should be starting to eat table foods around 8-9 months and should be done eating baby food by their first birthday. Of course there are exceptions to this, especially if your child has developmental delays.
Each child is an individual and I do want you to follow their lead, BUT often I see parents sticking with baby food way too long because it is easier or THEY are uncomfortable exposing their child to more table foods. You may think, where is the harm in it? Although most kids will move onto table foods fairly easily, some can get stuck in a rut and refuse table foods if they are kept on baby food for too long.


I know the big high chairs can be cumbersome in kitchens and the trays are annoying to keep cleaning, but these seats and their ability to confine, ahem, I mean keep you child safe are the best bet for a while. Babies have learned to associate eating with this chair and toddlers are notoriously distracted.
If you try to have them eat at their own little table or at a big table before the age of 2.5 you are most likely going to be in a constant struggle just to keep them sitting at the table and their eating habits will surely suffer. There is nothing wrong with keeping your kid in a high chair or booster seat with a strap until they are 3. If you never stray from this they won’t ever know the difference, sitting in a high chair or booster is all they have ever know. Once you let them kneel on a big chair or don’t strap them into the booster, it could be very difficult to return to the original set up.


We have to admit, this is probably this biggest pet peeve and the most prevalent error parents make. (Warning: stepping onto my soap box) Somehow our culture has evolved to constantly feeding our kids, most of the time we do this to pacify them. We hand them crackers or cookies in grocery stores, doctors offices, cars, parties, and even church to keep them quiet. It doesn’t always stop there, in the beginning it can be hard to find a schedule for eating that works and leaving food out all the time can seem logical, or meal times become stressful and schedules are abandoned because it seems easier.
It may be easier in the short term, but in the long run it will become more difficult to get good eating habits established. When kids are given snacks endlessly, the message sent is that we don’t need to sit and eat together (yes, even if it is just a snack) and that we can eat whenever we want. I think it is important to teach kids to respect meal time in its own right so they can develop healthy eating habits for life. Constant snacking totally defeats this, and as I have discussed previously, snacking usually ruins their appetite.
In my day job (as an occupational therapist), I see huge changes in a child’s eating when the family moves to structured, spaced out meals. At home, I also see a dramatic difference in my kid’s eating when they have snacked too frequently.


No toys at the table might seem obvious to some of you, especially parents with babies that aren’t really trying to pull this stunt yet. I assure you there will be a day when your toddler is insistent and will ultimately throw a tantrum just to have the truck or doll at the table with them. In the moment, it is very easy to give in because you are exhausted and don’t have the battle in you.
However, this is a battle worth fighting, even though that toy may be keeping them in their chair it will mostly distract them from actually eating. Sometimes it helps to place the toy in a spot where a child can see it (sometimes that makes it worse!). Either way, once your kiddo knows that you mean business about no toys coming to the table, they will stop trying.
*If your child is receiving feeding therapy, some therapeutic strategies employ the use of toys at meals.


Eat with your kids, often when we start babes out on baby food they are on their own schedule and we focus just on feeding them at their own meal time. This should be short lived, if ever a scenario at all. If possible it is a great habit and benefit to the baby to eat meals together. As they start to eat multiple times a day and begin table foods, try to find a way to have your eating schedules coincide.
Serving your kids solo means them missing out on a variety of social interactions, as well as the powerful tool of modeling. These mini-me’s just want to emulate us, and while we all know that they observe everything that we are doing, we often forget to apply that to eating. They notice that the broccoli is on our plate and what we like to eat. Not to oversimplify, but If your kid never sees you eating the broccoli, they might not eat it either.
*If your child is receiving feeding therapy, some therapeutic strategies employ the use of toys at meals.