This months’ Child Care magazine - http://www.professionalchildcare.co.uk/ features quotes from 3 members of the Childminding Forum - www.childmindingforum.co.uk – Lyn, Alison and me!!
The article is called 'You are what you eat'.
We were contacted by writer Siobhan O’Neill - http://siobhan-oneill.moonfruit.com/ who asked us for our thoughts on food, nutrition and EYFS age children.
We were asked to comment on whether we thought it was a good idea for the Government to get involved in giving out pre-school dietary advice (like they do with school age children’s nutrition) and how childminders feel generally about food for the under 5s.
A while ago, when I was writing e-book 21 ‘Healthy Eating’ (which is available from my website - www.knutsfordchildminding.co.uk), I researched the information available for pre-school diets and found it patchy to say the least. While school children’s diets are planned carefully with only a certain amount of fat and sugar and no salt allowed, pre-school providers are not given any guidance at all, even though we are closely involved (along with parents of course) in shaping children’s eating patterns at a crucial growth period in their little lives.
There was even a recent study which showed that some pre-school settings are feeding children too healthily and forgetting that they need a certain amount of carbohydrates and fats to give them enough energy to get through their busy days!
It did occur to me as I was reading the article that we are only a part of the jigsaw – it is all well and good the Government starting to postulate on what we are feeding children but what about the parents?? I know a parent who used to give her 9 month old child crisps (because he liked them); over the years I have watched children skipping down the path with sweets (because they have been good) and arriving with lollies for breakfast (because otherwise they would not leave the house in time)...
It does make me wonder if perhaps it is some parents (not all of course) rather than childminders who need to be the focus of at least the first wave of advice if the Government chooses to take on the pre-school dietary challenge.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts :)