Monday, November 26, 2012

Children's Diets and Daycare

This article from Family Edge describes the problem of childhood obesity with relation to day care.

The French-Canadian province of Quebec has a big stake in this information because 15 years ago it rolled out a province-wide, $7 a day childcare scheme which was aimed at helping the poorest children, as well as make it possible for women to stay in the workforce and have babies and thus lift a dangerously low fertility rate. You can read here what one commentator had to say about the fiscal results early this year.
Reports on how the kids are doing are mixed. The latest, from researchers at the University of Montreal, is negative. It reveals that children aged between 4 years and 10 are 50 percent more likely to be overweight if they attended a daycare centre between the ages of 18 months and four years, compared with those care for at home by their parents. Even leaving a child with a relative significantly increased the risk of obesity, the Daily Mail reports.
Read the entire article here. 
I was a licensed day care provider from my home for three years. Here's how the kids become overweight. Mom feels guilty for putting child in care, comes to pick up with unhealthy fast food in hand. Plus she's too exhausted to cook dinner from scratch anyway. So there's fast food for dinner too.
I was providing daycare at my home to be able to homeschool my kindergartener and care for my preschool child. I cooked dinner from scratch, and did not go out for junk food. It just wasn't in our limited budget. We served a carefully planned, government approved lunch and snack menu, with measured portions, and no seconds, so I know that the kids were not getting fat in my care. Oreos and candy were not reimbursed, but oatmeal cookies and fruit were. NO junk food was brought into my home. Or video games. We only watched one hour of TV a day, the rest of the day was spent in play with educational toys.
 In addition, the children always went outdoors for at least a half hour exercise before lunch. I did my part to keep those kids in my care healthy, as my girls were among them. I am also a certified teacher and I taught preschool curricula to the kids, letters, numbers, colors, shapes were taught in circle time. Arts and crafts and music time were part of our schedule. My girls enjoyed kindergarten from home with built in friends.

 It takes a full time parent to serve home made meals from scratch with no additives. And I think the money saved by not buying junk food could save a lot of moms the trouble of going out to work. One of my moms, who worked in a bank, admitted she made no money after taxes, she was only working because she didn't want to be with her two young sons. She had no control over them, and all three were unhappy. I felt very sorry for the entire family. It was as common a scenario as the struggling single mom.
Another mom, who was not making much money had a lovely four year old daughter with a severe weight problem; she couldn't fit in the swings on my swing set. Mom showed up every day with a bag of chips at four o'clock, despite my protests that we had just snacked at 3PM. It broke my heart.
I have worked most of my twenty years as a mom, but 90% of the time I worked part time, or from home, making great financial sacrifices to stay home with my three girls. Many of the moms whose children I cared for, could have chosen that option, at least while the children were young, but the culture encourages women to pause to mother only briefly after childbirth, while on maternity leave.
As Alice Von Hildebrand says, today's women, like Jacob of the Bible have traded their rich inheritance for a mess of pottage. They have cheated themselves of the riches of family life. Both of my grandmothers worked full time with young children out of need; they were immigrant families and the nation was suffering a Depression. Sometimes a woman has no choice. My mother enjoyed being at home while we were, and entered the work force when my younger brother entered preschool, in fact that is where she worked. She has so little clothing, she only had two work outfits and alternated days, causing the inquisitive preschoolers to ask why she only had one outfit, since they alternated days as well! I am so grateful for her sacrifice.
I had a happy childhood, and had no weight problems. Despite having a Masters's in Education, I chose to forgo the good income of a full time teacher to stay home with my three daughters.
 Now that my girls are beginning to leave the nest, I am so happy that I chose them over the nice vacations, fashionable clothing (we shopped at our parish thrift store) and new cars (if a car has under 100,000 miles, to us its 'new'). The emotional, spiritual and physical benefits my girls enjoy are immeasurable.

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