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Monday, December 5, 2016

POTM: Allergy Information

The following is taken directly from our handbook. If you have any questions, let us know!

We do our best to accommodate all allergies; however, we are not “egg free” or “peanut free”. We make note of children’s allergies and place them on the wall with their picture by the food tables. They are also listed on the refrigerator in the kitchen. The teachers are all made aware of all children’s allergies and are trained to thoroughly check all labels for ingredients/allergy information and in administering Epi-pens in case of an allergic reaction. 

If your child does have food allergies, you must: 
1. Write the information on your child’s emergency form and on their All About Me form. 
2. Fill out and allergy action plan and have it signed by their physician. 
3. Bring in an Epi-pen to store in your child’s cubby to use in case of emergency.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Letter from Ms. Jenn - Family Dinners

I love November!  It is a month full of family and food.  Two of my favorite things.  So I thought this month I would share with you something that is really important to my family: eating dinner together.  Life is so busy and some days it seems so hard to make time for everything that life is asking of you and sitting down for dinner seems like an impossible thing to do.  Making time to sit down at the dinner table has so many advantages for your children and your family.  I thought I would share with you some advantages of eating dinner together and some easy ways to make it happen at your house!

What happens when families eat together? Some studies show:

• Young children who eat with their family have a larger vocabulary and know more rare words.  Having a large vocabulary leads to early and easier reading.
·     • Older children reap intellectual benefits of eating with their family and sharing in conversation with adults.
·     • Children who eat dinner with their family 5 to 7 times a week are twice as likely to get A’s in school as those who eat with their family less than 2 times a week.
·     • Children who eat regular family meals are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables, are less likely to be obese, and more likely to live a healthy life style on their own.
·     • Regular family dinners reduce high risk behaviors in teenagers like smoking, drinking, violence, school problems, eating disorders, sexual activity, and drug use.
·     • Family meals can lead to more positive moods and more positive views for the future.

How can you make this happen at your house?  Our lives are so busy trying to get everything done, here are some tips that may help you do family dinners a few times a week.

·     • It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Try to start with a couple nights a week and if it works for your family try 3, then 4.
·     • It doesn’t have to be dinner.  We sit down with the children here at lunch time and share conversation.  If your family has more time in the morning then do it then!
·     • Plan ahead.  What days work best for your family? Ask the children what sounds good.  What is a meal that is quick or easy for you to make ahead of time? 
·     • Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Sitting down to leftovers has the same benefits and sitting down to a gourmet meal. 
·     • Let children help with clean up.  Give them simple jobs like clearing the table or helping with dishes.

Just as important as the food that you eat is the atmosphere at the table and presence of the parent.  TV should be off during dinner time and children should be encouraged to engage in conversation.  Keep positive and open communication throughout dinner. Enjoy this time with your babies, time goes so fast and soon they will be off, out on their own. Trust me on this one! 

- Ms. Jenn

Monday, November 7, 2016

POTM: Food Policy

The following is taken directly from our handbook. Let us know if you have any questions about our Food Policy.

All food for children over 1 will be provided by Jellybean Daycare & Preschool. We are so lucky to have Mimi for a cook to make all of our meals. She will make most of her meals from scratch so the children can have a real home cooked meal for lunch. Meals include breakfast, lunch, drinks, and 2 snacks. For breakfast, the children can choose whatever they want on the menu. They will usually have about 6 choices. Breakfast will be served until 8:30. If your child arrives after that time please be sure that they have already been fed. Lunches will usually be hot lunches. The menu for lunch and snack will be sent by email on a monthly basis so if your child doesn’t like what is being served they can bring their own lunch from home. If you do decide to bring food from home, it must be in a bag with your child’s name for them to eat during meal time. We have children with severe food allergies here so we ask that your child does not come to the center with food in their hand. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

If your child has food allergies please fill that out on your child’s forms and make a point to talk to all staff about it, including the cook. You will also need to fill out an allergy action plan and have it signed by the child’s pediatrician. We will do our best to accommodate all food allergies. 

We limit the use of sugary foods and juice. Juice is only offered at special events. We encourage healthy snacks for birthday celebrations. Please see your child’s teacher or the administrator if you would like to bring in food for your child’s birthday. 

We try to prevent choking by having children sitting while eating and by cutting food into child bite-sized pieces. Certain foods such as popcorn, gummies, and raw carrots are not served to infants and young toddlers. 

Our nutritional plan and menus have been reviewed and approved by a registered nutritionist.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Letter from Ms. Jenn: My Journey to Being Mindful

At the beginning of this year I decided to try to live a more mindful life, to try to focus on each moment and look for the good in each situation.  Sometimes in our busy lives we forget to take time to just be in the moment.  So many things busy up our lives now.  Between work, family, daily obligations, social media, the news, traffic, and all the other things that consume our time it is hard to focus on just one moment without thinking about the next.  These things also sometimes make it hard to see the positive things in our lives. Work can be stressful, family demanding, too many daily obligations, seeing negative things on social media and the news, and so many accidents on the roads.  With all of these things going on I wanted to try to see what I could do to help myself lead a more mindful, happy life.  It has been a process trying to train my brain to be mindful.  I know a lot of you are feeling the same pressures of life that I have been feeling so I thought I would share with you a few things that I found helped me on this journey.

The first thing I had to do was make a decision to take some time for myself and know that I wanted to enjoy the moment I was in.  This was super important for me because I was having a hard time separating parts of my life.  When I was teaching in the classroom I wanted to only be doing that and not thinking about all the other stuff I had to take care of as the director.  When I got home I wanted to focus on my family and not think about what I had to do at work the following day.  This took a lot of practice. It still takes work but it is worth it.

One way I practice this is through meditation.  I found this app called “Calm” and it taught me how to meditate and it has a lot of guided meditations that teach you how to be more mindful.  If this is something you think you could get into I would really recommend it!

Another thing I do is say “no” more.  I still say yes a lot but sometimes I know that I need to say no.  This was really hard.  Really, really, hard.  But it was an important step.  You have to have time for you to do what you want to do and just feel like you can be in that moment. 

Being mindful doesn’t mean to meditate, it just means to be in the moment, to give your full attention to what you are doing.  Whether this is playing with your children, exercising, or cleaning the house, you can be mindful.  When I run I used to think about work and ways to solve problems. Now when I run I try to focus on my run.  How I feel, what I smell, what I see, what I hear, and I focus on my breathing.  This is still hard to do too, but when I do I fully enjoy this time more than when I was thinking about work the whole time.  Being mindful has the same effect when I am doing other activities too like playing a game with the children or writing this blog.

I found a series of books that I could really relate to too.  They are the “f**k it” books by John C Parkin.  I really liked the “F**k it, do what you love” book.   These books won’t be for everyone but I really liked how the books talked about letting go of things.  I read this book really slow and took notes as I did.

One of the last things that helped me with this is putting away my phone.  I was way too connected to my phone and becoming more disconnected from my life.  I found I was so focused on the news and social media that I wasn’t focusing on the life that was right in front of me.  So I have made a conscious effort to put my phone away while I am in the classroom and only check it periodically while I am at work and to get off news apps and social media so I can focus on home when I am home.

All these things were hard to start and still can be challenging at times but the reward of being more mindful and just feeling happier is definitely worth it.  Just thought I would share this with you all in case anyone else is interested in starting to live a more mindful and happy life.

“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace”

- Ms. Jenn