How Quality Child Care Centers Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

Child care centers play a critical role in supporting the development of healthy eating habits. Food preferences and dietary patterns are established in early childhood, and the nutritional experiences kids have in their younger years can have long-lasting consequences.

To encourage children to make healthier meal and snack choices, quality child care centers are making changes in their food programs. Here’s how daycares and preschools are working to help kids develop healthy eating habits.

More Healthy Foods

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are staples at quality daycare and preschool programs. And when fresh produce isn’t available, frozen is used – not canned – as they offer greater nutritional benefits. Meals and snacks also include more whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Whenever possible, child care programs serve whole foods that have gone through a minimum amount of processing.

More Appealing Meals

Children can be very picky eaters, and encouraging them to try different foods can be a challenge. To combat this, daycares and preschools make nutritious options appeal to kids. Bright, colorful meals, creative food arrangement and fun, interactive foods – such as broccoli trees with a kid-friendly dip – get children excited about eating. And with appealing meals and snacks, kids actually come to enjoy healthy foods.

Plenty of Patience

Food jags are common among young children, and many resist the idea of eating anything different. Quality child care centers help change this attitude by serving a variety of choices from each food group throughout the day and letting kids decide how much to eat. Food is never forced or used as a reward, and some waste is expected. With time and patients, children start eating a wider range of foods.

Encouraging Healthy Eating at Home

Are your kids picky eaters? Choosing a quality daycare or preschool can make a difference in their attitudes toward food. But, you can also take steps to help your children adopt healthier eating habits. Experts recommend that parents:

  • Offer a range of healthy snack options
  • Have children help shop for healthy foods
  • Allow kids to assist with cooking
  • Model healthy eating habits
  • Avoid pressuring kids to eat
  • Choose non-food rewards

Are you looking for a quality child care program in northern Utah? At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, we understand the importance of promoting healthy eating habits. Our goal is to improve the nutritional well-being of the children in our care by helping them learn to enjoy healthier choices.

Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers has two convenient locations, in Salt Lake City and Taylorsville, Utah. For an in-person tour, or to learn more about the food program at our child care centers, contact us today.

Child Care Providers and Parents – Building a Connection

Your childcare provider is there for your little one when you can’t be, but becoming involved at preschool is essential. Participating sends a strong message that you believe education is important – and research shows that children whose parents act as partners to their daycare teachers are happier, have greater self-esteem and enjoy learning.

As a busy parent, finding the time to build a relationship with your child care provider might be a challenge. Here are a few ideas on how to overcome this issue and set your child up for school success.

Plan for Quick Chats at Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Try not to be in a rush every time you drop off or pick up your little one. Sure, these times can be a little hectic, but aim to carve out a minute or two for a quick conversation with the daycare teacher. Chatting even a few times a week can help you forge a better connection.

Check Electronic Parent-Teacher Communication

These days, many daycare providers – including Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers – involve parents through electronic means. You can stay in direct contact with your little one’s teacher and get daily updates via email, text or an app. With this form of communication in place, participating in your child’s education is much easier.

Consider Ways to Contribute from Home

Volunteering to help your child’s daycare teacher doesn’t have to mean assisting at the child care center. There are plenty of ways you can contribute without leaving your job or your home. You can, for example, type school notices, coordinate the class telephone chain or make classroom decorations. For other ideas, just ask!

Arrange to Attend Important Activities

Working parents often end up missing out on class concerts, field trips and special activities simply because they can’t arrange to have the time off. A good strategy might be to check out the child care center calendar far in advance and choose at least a few events to attend. Most daycare providers should be able to share a schedule of important activities for at least the next several months, if not longer, which will hopefully allow you enough time to make arrangements to be away from work.

At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, we understand the importance of parent involvement. We can also relate to the challenges of finding time to participate, as our northern Utah child care providers are parents themselves. Our exclusive Tadpoles parent-teacher communication app helps us build strong partnerships, and our team takes special care to connect with busy parents.

 

4 Ways Kids Benefit from a High-Quality Childcare Program

In today’s world, a child care program is absolutely essential for many families. Parents often feel guilty putting their kids in daycare, but staying home isn’t always an option.

The good news is that a high-quality childcare program, one that features a positive learning environment and a play-based curriculum, offers a number of advantages to children. Kids who spend the day in a stimulating, nurturing environment get the strong start they need to thrive in school and beyond.

Here are four of the benefits children derive from attending a quality daycare program.

No. 1: Advanced Social Skills

In the child care environment, kids get the chance to connect with their peers and engage with adults. Through this interaction, they learn vital social skills like how to express their ideas, how to listen to others and how to cooperate in a group setting. Children also learn how to make friends, share and resolve conflicts in an appropriate manner.

No. 2: Improved Attention Spans

Children are naturally curious and love to explore. A quality daycare program offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy new experiences and make new discoveries, while also providing a good balance of directed activities. This approach helps kids understand how to work independently, complete group tasks and follow directions – all of which contribute to improved concentration skills.

No. 3: Better School Performance

When kids attend a quality child care center with a focus on early childhood learning, they’re better prepared for school. They have a better idea of what to expect and how to behave in kindergarten, and this knowledge sets them up for success. Daycare gives children the physical, mental and emotional foundation to do well in school and, for many kids, reduces the need for special education instruction.

No. 4: Greater Enthusiasm for Learning

In a child care center built around a play-based curriculum, kids explore new ideas and challenges every day. The experiences they enjoy at daycare – music, construction, art, cooking, math games, science experiments and more – serve to create a lifelong interest in learning. Children become confident in their ability to figure things out, which builds their enthusiasm in education.

Attending a quality child care program, like those offered by Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, can help set your children up for future success.

At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, we encourage children to learn, grow and explore through play. We offer a safe environment, well-trained caregivers and developmentally-appropriate activities – and we aim to fill every day with fun.

Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers has two convenient northern Utah locations, in Salt Lake City and Taylorsville. To schedule an in-person tour of either daycare center, or for details on our quality child care programs, contact us today.

How to Prepare Your Child for Preschool

Is your toddler starting preschool soon? Adjusting to the new setting can be challenging for some children. In time, heading to the child care center will become routine – but the first day may be a little rough on both you and your little one.

To make the transition to preschool a little easier, try the following tips from the experienced educators at Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers.

Be Positive and Reassuring

Give your child a chance to voice their worries about going to preschool, and let them know it’s ok to feel how they’re feeling. At the same time, be upbeat and encouraging – and keep your own concerns to yourself.

Visit the Preschool

Arrange to have your little one come to the preschool and meet the teacher – and, if possible, their classmates — before the first day. That way, the environment will be at least a little familiar, which may make things easier.

Play Pretend Preschool

Playing preschool at home is a great way to prepare. Through pretend play, you can give your child a better idea of what to expect on the first day – and you can emphasize why the child care center is a fun place to be.

Read Books About Preschool

Head to the library and pick up some books about the first day of preschool. Read them together, and discuss the stories – be sure to point out the positives, like making new friends and playing games. This, like pretend play, will help your toddler look forward to preschool.

Practice Self-Help Skills

The more your child can do on their own, the more confident they will feel about going to preschool. Help them learn skills like zipping their coat, putting on a backpack and fastening their shoes – and try to keep the practice fun.

Shop for a First-Day Outfit Together

The first day of preschool is a big deal, so treat it like a special occasion. Take your child shopping and let them choose an outfit (one that’s appropriate, of course) and a new backpack. Putting the control in their hands highlights the fact that they’re a big kid who’s ready for preschool.

Give Your Child Time to Adapt

Children are often a little nervous or scared on the first day of preschool, and crying is common. Resist the urge to run back into the classroom to console your little one – instead, give your child time to get comfortable with their preschool teacher. You can call for an update later in the morning, and chances are, all will be well by then.

Are you looking for the best preschool for your child? If you live in northern Utah, consider Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers.

Our well-trained, highly-experienced educators are parents themselves, so we understand how to help children adjust to the new environment and grow to enjoy learning through play every day. Contact Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers in Taylorsville or Salt Lake City, Utah, and schedule a visit to discuss our preschool programs today.

Taking a Child Care Center Tour – Pointers for Parents

Are you preparing to take child care center tours? Finding the right learning and preschool environment — a safe, nurturing place where your little one can explore and grow – isn’t an easy task. And, if this is your first tour, you may not know how to judge whether a center can meet your child’s needs.

Trusting your gut is important, but the all-important decision of which daycare center is your best option requires careful consideration. Here’s what you need to know before you embark on a child care center tour.

Take a Tour Without Your Child

For your first tour of a daycare center, leave your little one at home. That way, you’ll be able to observe the environment and ask questions without any distractions.

Check Out the Conditions

As you take a child care center tour, take a close look at the facility. Is it clean? Does the facility appear to be safe and in good repair? Safety is a primary concern, so make sure the conditions are up to par.

Ask About the Educational Philosophy

On your daycare center tour, you may hear that the facility offers a play-based curriculum or a positive learning environment. That may sound great, but dig a little deeper and find out how that philosophy is carried out during a typical day.

Watch the Children at the Center

Are the children having fun, engaged in purposeful learning activities and free play? You should see the kids enjoying themselves as you tour the facility. If they aren’t, you may want to find a different daycare center.

Pay Attention to Staff Interaction

When you visit a daycare center, watch the staff as much as you can. You should see caregivers engaging and playing with the children – not standing around, observing. The staff should also be caring and kind, using positive strategies to encourage appropriate behavior.

Find Out About Staff Qualifications

While you’re on your child care center tour, it’s perfectly acceptable to inquire about the background and training of the staff – you want qualified professionals, not babysitters. And, because children form attachments with their caregivers, you may want to inquire about the staff turnover rate.

Get Details on Communication Policies

As a parent, you want to know how your little one is doing in daycare and what’s going on in the classroom during the day. When you take your tour, ask how the facility handles communication. You may want to look for a center that uses technology to share information and allow caregivers to easily connect with parents.

If you’re looking for daycare in Taylorsville or Salt Lake City, Utah, schedule a visit with Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers.

At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, we encourage children to explore, experiment and learn through play. Or parent-teacher communication program provides daily updates, photos and videos, and our developmental screenings track each child’s progress and learning readiness.

For more details on Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, or to schedule an in-person child care center tour, contact our Taylorsville or Salt Lake City location today

Tips for Parents Who Are New to Child Care Programs

In Utah, child care programs provide new parents with the freedom to return to life after the arrival of their baby.

Few parents look forward to returning to work after the birth of their first child but, for many, going back to work isn’t an option. Fortunately, a variety of child care options are available to parents – especially in the Salt Lake City and Taylorsville areas.

If you aren’t sure where to start, these tips will help you find the right type of daycare for your precious little one.

Types of Northern Utah Child Care Programs

Our child-centric community offers countless options for parents seeking daycare for the first time. But, sometimes, having so many choices makes the decision even harder.

You can try private care providers, but many parents find that these options limit their child’s opportunities for growth and development. The most critical phases of development occur during the first months and years of your child’s life. Finding a childcare program that provides a rich environment for stimulus and growth will provide your little one with multiple advantages.

Although many individuals and facilities are capable of caring for your child, consider choosing a certified child care provider with structured programs that encourage learning, exploration and growth.

What to Look for in a Utah Childcare or Daycare Provider

Providing your baby with continuity is important, especially during the formative developmental years. Finding a learning center that provides care for kids from infants through school age will ensure that you provide that critical advantage.

And, as important as attentive, compassionate care and child safety are, it’s also important to find a care provider that encourages learning and growth. A center that tracks the development and progress of your child will help ensure that he or she reaches critical milestones and progresses consistently toward identified objectives.

Finally, look for a daycare center that provides appropriate preparation for kindergarten and beyond, including reading and math-focused activities.

Choose a Child Care Program That You Trust

Your peace-of-mind is critical when choosing a learning and care center for your child. Trust your parental instincts, no matter how new you may be to the process.

You’ll want to receive frequent updates about your child’s well-being, especially during the early stages of being apart. Today’s advanced technology allows child care providers to update parents through smartphone apps – at least for those providers who elect to offer this in-demand option. Having that function available to you will help relieve the nervousness and stress you experience when you must first leave your child in the care of someone else.

When you find a safe environment in which you can trust your child, and one that provides the necessary tools for their cognitive, emotional and social growth, you can relax and trust that your little one will have what they need when you’re apart.

At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, we understand how stressful this can be for new parents – after all, we’re parents ourselves. When you trust your child with us, you can rest assured that they will learn, explore and grow in a well-supervised environment where they are encouraged to play and express themselves appropriately.

Ask us about our exclusive Tadpoles parent-teacher communication program, which allows you to observe your child and receive updates, photos and videos of their day.

We have convenient learning center locations in Salt Lake City and Taylorsville, Utah. Contact us today to schedule your visit. We take special care of those parents who are new to child care programs – and we take even better care of their precious children.