After teaching dozens and dozens of preschoolers, here are three skills preschool teachers wish all parents practiced at home… and they ALL address how and what you feed your little ones.
Sit Down Meals
Children who are expected to eat meals sitting down at home have a much easier time understanding “table time” at preschool. Snack time at preschool is the perfect social skill building activity, and preschool table time also includes development of fine motor skills through table activities like coloring, cutting, and playing with playdoh. However, if a child wanders at home with a handful of French fries or a bag of fruit snacks, they already lag behind their peers who understand the concept of sitting. When their preschool teacher insists on sitting at the table, the students who have practiced sitting down at meal time will be ready.
Hungry tummies are disagreeable, but a body that is fed brain-food is ready to learn. The importance of a protein-packed breakfast or lunch before school is absolutely essential for successful learning, concentration and memory. Providing a nutritious meal for little Jack or Emma helps them be a better friend, too. Science has proven the connection between mood and food. Each family has their own dietary preferences so whether you are dairy-free, cage-free, or gluten-free be sure to include brain food.
Low (or NO) Sugar Diet
Another proven scientific fact is the “correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function”. No parent would intentionally cause damage to their child’s brain, but a steady diet of candy and sugar does just that. Don’t worry! Kids love fruits and veggies and snacks with a bit of honey (do not feed honey to babies under one year). Need fresh ideas? Click on the Preschool tab at www.eatright.org provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The key to successful sit-down meals, a protein-packed brain-food breakfast, and a low sugar diet is to start these habits when your child is very young. You’ve got this! It’s never too late to begin helping your child be their very best. Start with one food concept and watch the difference the change makes in your home and at school.