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Is there a solution for this childcare problem?

Lex DeVille

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Our kid is 15 months old and requires a lot of attention. I give that time and attention, but I do so at the expense of working on my business. So we are considering trying daycare one or two days a week. We even found one less than a mile away. Nice facilities. Good reviews. Structured developmental programs. Just one problem...

Sample Meals:
(Menus change weekly.)
Breakfast:
#1 - Honey Graham Squares, Cereal, Pears, Milk
#2 - Pancakes w/ Syrup, Pineapple Bits, Milk
#3 - Cinnamon Toast on Whole Wheat**, Apple Slices, Milk

Lunch:
#1 - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce*, Tiny Sweet Peas, Peaches, Milk
#2 - Cheeseburger on Bun*, Tator Tots, Baked Beans, Milk
#3 - Chicken Pot Pie*, Carrots, Apple Slices, Milk

Snacks:
#1 - Tortilla Chips w/ Cheese Sauce**, 100% Juice Fruit Punch
#2 - Orange Wedges, Pretzels, Water
#3 - Oatmeal Cookies**, Grape Juice
*Child Nutrition Label/ Child Care Recipes from USDA's CACFP
** Whole Grain Products
For me that menu is a big HELL NO!

I'm not here to judge others for their food choices. You're all big boys and girls and you can choose for yourself. In my house we eat whole foods. Organics. Gluten free. Sugar free. When we had cats, they ate healthier than 90% of the American population. But the daycare centers I've looked at all follow the same USDA approved program which basically says "fill 'em full of wheat and refined sugar and call it a day!"

So what is the solution? Do I just hire in-home care? Do all childcare centers have to follow USDA guidelines? Isn't anyone solving this problem??? To me the sample menu above looks INSANE not to mention an early start toward a life of food addiction struggles coupled with a constant battle against obesity. The thing is, this menu is similar to other childcare menus we've looked at and my short Google search suggested that you'd need an act of god to change it.

For those of you with kids who have restricted diets, how do you deal with this?
 

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In the spirit of the forum, you could present it as an added value alternative for the daycare. Especially since you'll be seeing the other parents on a routine basis, I'd bet lots of them feel the same so to show the operators demand would be simple.

We passed on a number of daycares for my kid (who was around your kids age) based on the food and the excessive time spent indoors. Granted, I don't have your food standards and don't believe a bit of garbage from time to time is going to hurt them in any significant manner. The nature time to me is most important followed closely by allowing the kids to sort out issues for themselves.

Difficult issue and a worthy cause, I know Jamie Oliver is doing a lot of work in the UK addressing the concerns you have and all parents should have.
 

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When our kids were that age we got someone to come into the house to mind them. I used to leave for work in the morning and sneak over the wall round the side and in through the back door to work in a windowless broom cupboard. Oh happy days.

Is that an option? (Getting someone to come into the house, not the windowless broom cupboard. Oh wait... you work in a dark room anyway...)
 

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We've dealt with it by homeschooling. I guess in-home care might be the best option. I know that's not terribly helpful and may not be an option for most people. Our kids have tons of serious food sensitivities (gluten, etc.) and when they go off their diets, they have serious behavioral problems. The food available at schools, daycare, after school programs etc. is generally crap and we live in possibly the most granola city in the U.S. I haven't even heard of a childcare place that provides whole food options. Also, there isn't a lot of agreement as to what constitutes healthy food choices, so the potential "healthy food option" market niche is splintered (vegan v. Paleo etc.).
 
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Lex DeVille

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In the spirit of the forum, you could present it as an added value alternative for the daycare. Especially since you'll be seeing the other parents on a routine basis, I'd bet lots of them feel the same so to show the operators demand would be simple.

We passed on a number of daycares for my kid (who was around your kids age) based on the food and the excessive time spent indoors. Granted, I don't have your food standards and don't believe a bit of garbage from time to time is going to hurt them in any significant manner. The nature time to me is most important followed closely by allowing the kids to sort out issues for themselves.

Difficult issue and a worthy cause, I know Jamie Oliver is doing a lot of work in the UK addressing the concerns you have and all parents should have.
That settles it, I'm moving to the U.K.! Thanks for the suggestion. I'm open to all options for now.

I don't mean to make it sound like our daughter doesn't eat any sugar or gluten. Her diet isn't as restricted as ours. It's also possible I maybe blowing this out of proportion.

At the same time, I know at 15 months she can and does identify the more sugary fruit foods from vegetables and meats. The other day she refused to eat a meat/veggie pack and screamed bloody murder until I swapped it out with a sweeter alternative.

When I was a kid I was obese by the age of 12. But in my house we ate Doritos. Drank nothing but Pepsi. Poptarts. Cinnamon Toast Crunch....and the only "real" food we had came from a can and was full of other sugars and crap. Most nights we at fast food too, and I was bullied in middle school and throughout high school because of my weight.

I never figured out the problem until I left the military around 24 years old. Only when I basically dropped everything I'd ever eaten did I start to fix myself. My parents have never broken these habits despite countless attempts and I'm terrified that it could ever be that way for my daughter.

So it's possible my fear is due to a skewed perspective. It's really nice to read other opinions on this. Thank you.
 

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At the same time, I know at 15 months she can and does identify the more sugary fruit foods from vegetables and meats. The other day she refused to eat a meat/veggie pack and screamed bloody murder until I swapped it out with a sweeter alternative.
Of course, she's a human child. We're optimized to seek out sugary and fatty foods.

That diet is horrendous, and unfortunately is still the standard in schools. I don't think you're blowing it out of proportion but there is a reason why they use diets like that.

It's cuz kids will eat it with little fuss. Get rid of common allergens, standardize the diet and you solve two problems: 1) fussy kids not eating, and 2) kids getting sick from allergic reactions.

I think your solution is a part time nanny that will help you out. It might be slightly more expensive but honestly, judging from how expensive child care is... maybe not lol
 
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Lex DeVille

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When our kids were that age we got someone to come into the house to mind them. I used to leave for work in the morning and sneak over the wall round the side and in through the back door to work in a windowless broom cupboard. Oh happy days.

Is that an option? (Getting someone to come into the house, not the windowless broom cupboard. Oh wait... you work in a dark room anyway...)
Yes, it is an option. TBH it's the option I'd prefer, but Lacy also has a say in this, so I have to look at the different angles. I'd much rather have someone in-home working 1:1 with my child and also with my supervision throughout the day.

We've dealt with it by homeschooling. I guess in-home care might be the best option. I know that's not terribly helpful and may not be an option for most people. Our kids have tons of serious food sensitivities (gluten, etc.) and when they go off their diets, they have serious behavioral problems. The food available at schools, daycare, after school programs etc. is generally crap and we live in possibly the most granola city in the U.S. I haven't even heard of a childcare place that provides whole food options. Also, there isn't a lot of agreement as to what constitutes healthy food choices, so the potential "healthy food option" market niche is splintered (vegan v. Paleo etc.).
That part about "what constitutes healthy food choices" troubles me. It's like they turn to pancakes and Poptarts because it's quick, cheap and easy. Of course no child will complain about cinnamon toast drenched in sugar and washed down with a cup of sugar sweetened with orange juice!
 

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couldn't you just ask they serve your child something you prepare beforehand? , one less meal for them and they have to get the little ones to sit down and eat either way
 
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Lex DeVille

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I think your solution is a part time nanny that will help you out. It might be slightly more expensive but honestly, judging from how expensive child care is... maybe not lol
Pricing is one thing I can't quite figure out with daycare centers. The one we looked at today doesn't list their prices. They want you to fill out a form for a call. Ugh. HOW MUCH TO WATCH MAH KID!!

couldn't you just ask they serve your child something you prepare beforehand? , one less meal for them and they have to get the little ones to sit down and eat either way
I can ask, but I don't think it's allowed because they have to make sure they're meeting whatever regulations are required for the industry. I'll have to dig deeper into that part to know for sure.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Our solution will likely be in-home care. It's what I've been leaning toward for a while. But the other reason for making this post is because it seems like there's a big problem for someone to solve. While I can do in-home care, a lot of people can't. What is everyone else supposed to do about the food?

I wonder if the regulations could be overcome by setting up a child care center under a religious non-profit (a church). Maybe then foods could bypass the rules due to religious preference. I dunno, just thinking from a different angle.

Even within the USDA regulations and SAD standards a childcare center could probably offer better foods. I mean, they're offering applesauce and pears and stuff like that now. It's just got a lot of added sugars and other crap. There are more wholistic replacements for those items, but it will probably cost a little more for the daycare overall which would lead to higher prices for service.

So I guess the opportunity there would be a childcare center (franchise) in cities where parents have more money and can spend more on better quality food and childcare.
 
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MTEE1985

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Our kid is 15 months old and requires a lot of attention. I give that time and attention, but I do so at the expense of working on my business. So we are considering trying daycare one or two days a week. We even found one less than a mile away. Nice facilities. Good reviews. Structured developmental programs. Just one problem...



For me that menu is a big HELL NO!

I'm not here to judge others for their food choices. You're all big boys and girls and you can choose for yourself. In my house we eat whole foods. Organics. Gluten free. Sugar free. When we had cats, they ate healthier than 90% of the American population. But the daycare centers I've looked at all follow the same USDA approved program which basically says "fill 'em full of wheat and refined sugar and call it a day!"

So what is the solution? Do I just hire in-home care? Do all childcare centers have to follow USDA guidelines? Isn't anyone solving this problem??? To me the sample menu above looks INSANE not to mention an early start toward a life of food addiction struggles coupled with a constant battle against obesity. The thing is, this menu is similar to other childcare menus we've looked at and my short Google search suggested that you'd need an act of god to change it.

For those of you with kids who have restricted diets, how do you deal with this?
Best way we’ve found to deal with it is to find a school/daycare where we bring the lunch. Our son’s current preschool goes so far as to actually request parents do not pack unhealthy items such as chips, cookies, etc.

Now they do provide the snacks but given the requests they make for lunches that we bring in, we feel comfortable that they make good choices and when we ask him what he had for snack that day we are happy 95% of the time with the choice.

To speak to your title and question if a solution however, I see the lunch portion as another profit center for the schools because they can reasonably charge an extra $5/day per child and then feed them for $2.

The solution outside of starting a whole new school or center would be selling a more wholesome menu to the schools where they get to maintain their profit margin but can charge a little bit more because they are offering (what most would consider) a better product. Sadly in this country, price is the determining factor for most parents.
 

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That settles it, I'm moving to the U.K.! Thanks for the suggestion. I'm open to all options for now.

I don't mean to make it sound like our daughter doesn't eat any sugar or gluten. Her diet isn't as restricted as ours. It's also possible I maybe blowing this out of proportion.

At the same time, I know at 15 months she can and does identify the more sugary fruit foods from vegetables and meats. The other day she refused to eat a meat/veggie pack and screamed bloody murder until I swapped it out with a sweeter alternative.

When I was a kid I was obese by the age of 12. But in my house we ate Doritos. Drank nothing but Pepsi. Poptarts. Cinnamon Toast Crunch....and the only "real" food we had came from a can and was full of other sugars and crap. Most nights we at fast food too, and I was bullied in middle school and throughout high school because of my weight.

I never figured out the problem until I left the military around 24 years old. Only when I basically dropped everything I'd ever eaten did I start to fix myself. My parents have never broken these habits despite countless attempts and I'm terrified that it could ever be that way for my daughter.

So it's possible my fear is due to a skewed perspective. It's really nice to read other opinions on this. Thank you.
I hear ya, the skewed perspective is a difficult one to overcome especially when it comes to parenting. Thanks for opening up about this, I didn't have the same issues as a kid and I've never heard the other side so it's a great perspective opener.

It doesn't sound like you've found the right child care situation for you and your family. I feel fortunate every time I drop off my kid in such an amazing environment I trust. I think stick to your standards (with the skew in mind) and you'll find something that works. Or you've identified a problem that Needs solving. All the best.
 

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We're in a mid-sized city, and when our kids were teeny, were able to find a daycare that served mostly organic & healthy food--the menu was one of their main emphases. It was a 20-minute drive from our house, but well worth it. If they care about feeding kids healthy food, they're going to do other things right--like getting kids lots of outdoor time, appropriate behavior management, enriching activities instead of custodial care, etc.

I'd keep looking for a better daycare. If there simply isn't one in your area, other options might be:
  • hire in-home care
  • a day-care co-op where you share in-home daycare among a handful of like-minded parents
  • in-home daycare in someone else's home (less regulated)
  • create your own in-home daycare (i.e., you hire someone to do the daycare, but also take in a few other kids)
 

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I agree with every word you said and would love to add several passionate rants from my own experience, but I won’t, The day ppl in America start realizing we’re all being poisoned by glysophate is coming.. and when that day comes I hope I’ve invested in a cool company that makes growing your own food organically in an apartment really, really easy.

But back to your question.

I worked out a compromise with the daycare provider for around $50 less per week because I provided all the meals for my son. Granted, my kid was only there for breakfast, snack, and lunch.. but still. It worked for me. He had his own table with four other kids who all had allergies or special diets too. I don’t know if those parents negotiated for a reduction in price though.

HTH.
 

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There are 3 options.

1) If you are the main breadwinner, then let your wife take care of the child while you bring in the bacon.

2) You hire a child minder that knows how to keep fit / eat healthy.

3) You open up your own centre and if there's a demand for it - you can get other snowflake parents to send their brats to your day care centre focused on healthy, hippie living (I'm not judging). :D

If you can get 10 parents to agree, you potentially have a business - and now you'll get the day care for free (provided the business is profitable).
 

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Our kid is 15 months old and requires a lot of attention. I give that time and attention, but I do so at the expense of working on my business. So we are considering trying daycare one or two days a week. We even found one less than a mile away. Nice facilities. Good reviews. Structured developmental programs. Just one problem...



For me that menu is a big HELL NO!

I'm not here to judge others for their food choices. You're all big boys and girls and you can choose for yourself. In my house we eat whole foods. Organics. Gluten free. Sugar free. When we had cats, they ate healthier than 90% of the American population. But the daycare centers I've looked at all follow the same USDA approved program which basically says "fill 'em full of wheat and refined sugar and call it a day!"

So what is the solution? Do I just hire in-home care? Do all childcare centers have to follow USDA guidelines? Isn't anyone solving this problem??? To me the sample menu above looks INSANE not to mention an early start toward a life of food addiction struggles coupled with a constant battle against obesity. The thing is, this menu is similar to other childcare menus we've looked at and my short Google search suggested that you'd need an act of god to change it.

For those of you with kids who have restricted diets, how do you deal with this?
Do you have a list for local home care providers. If you contact Department of Human Services, they have licensed home day care providers who usually have references. They usually had me pack all my child's meals and snacks. I don't know how much the rules have changed since 1995-2000, but usually they have certain guidelines for all school systems. They can't feed everyone's children economically.

When you deal with school systems you're providing equal opportunity to all your students. They buy in quantity food products and make it in huge batches. I don't know how much they charge you, but back than it was $150.00 a week to send my child to day care like you're talking about. I put him in private home care because of better one on one care which was even cheaper. If you send him to day care, just pack your kids up with a lunch box and say, I prefer my children to eat this, so you can minus the amount of money from the child care cost. Why is it any different than any other school. Say they have allergies or something. lol

No they don't have good nutrition in any school. They usually buy it at Gordon Food's , Aldi's, Sam's Club etc.
 

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in-home daycare in someone else's home (less regulated)
Regulations are usually created by the State. If you have a licensed private home day care, they are heavily regulated by the state. They have to go through state programs before opening their daycare. Also their home can be inspected at any time. They have to have things written out just like the regular day care. At least in Michigan. This was also part of my degree with Child Protective Services, so when you find a day care we frown upon sending your children to just anyone. If they're licensed you're child's more guaranteed to have a care provider who has had their background checked, run through the system, and they can't have any sexual offenders etc. living within their home or in a certain radius of where they live.
 

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Yeah, that's a tough question for sure. It seems that a lot of day cares are in it for money and volume. I agree with the other statements already that they just follow the bare minimum for USDA guidelines because the sugar and processed food diet is the cheapest and easiest for them to serve. They don't really need a decent cook to provide that. It provides a lot of calories for the least amount of food (even though those calories don't have any nutrition with it).

Don't expect them to make any large changes soon. Most people don't complain about the food since it is the same as what they are eating as well. Or they are middle income and can't afford to go anywhere else or low enough income that they get child care provided for them there for free.

For sure keep looking for a different provider. You might be able to work out a deal to be able to bring lunches, but I would think that if the provider does the bare minimum with food, I wouldn't expect them to do anything more than the bare minimum in other areas (food for thought).

Maybe someone running a small one from their house would be the best option, but usually those have the problem of if that person can't/won't do it that day, then you are out of luck. Or as others have said, you could maybe start one at your place where you hire someone to watch your child and maybe some other neighbor kids.
 

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We send our daughter to day care with prepared foods. She is a little bit of a picky eater being 13 months old, but we can control what she eats. The day care we send her to doesn't do meal plans. I guess that is more of a traditional day care instead of being like an early child/toddler preschool.

The other thing to consider is the interaction your child will have with other children. I don't know how in-home care would work, but I would think being around other children throughout the day - even a couple times a week - would be beneficial.
 

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We send our daughter to day care with prepared foods. She is a little bit of a picky eater being 13 months old, but we can control what she eats. The day care we send her to doesn't do meal plans. I guess that is more of a traditional day care instead of being like an early child/toddler preschool.

The other thing to consider is the interaction your child will have with other children. I don't know how in-home care would work, but I would think being around other children throughout the day - even a couple times a week - would be beneficial.
Usually they have a certain amount of kids. There limited to so many. I forget the number. It's no different in a bigger day care. You have a certain number of children per preschool teacher. You just won't have 30 or 50 kids.
 

InspireHD

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Usually they have a certain amount of kids. There limited to so many. I forget the number. It's no different in a bigger day care. You have a certain number of children per preschool teacher. You just won't have 30 or 50 kids.
I think I misunderstood the "in-home care." Are we talking sending a child to someone's home who has a daycare setup in the home with other children or having a 1-on-1 nanny come into the parent's home and watch the child on their own all day while mom and dad either go to work or work in-home uninterrupted?
 

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Usually they have a certain amount of kids. There limited to so many. I forget the number. It's no different in a bigger day care. You have a certain number of children per preschool teacher. You just won't have 30 or 50 kids.
There are limits set by the state on how many kids a caregiver can take care of at a time, and the limits are different for different age groups. But that could be a potential business opportunity to have better food options and cater to a more affluent group that could afford more personalized childcare.
 

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I believe if you opened a private fastlane day care center, like they do the elderly day care programs or adult foster care homes that are licensed as well, you'd make money off of it. But you'd have to directly aim it for middle class or upper class and provide like this awesome place where it's more of an upgrade to the normal every day daycare. Specialized.
 

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My Wife's parents are leaving in a few weeks and our plan is to hire an in home nanny to watch the kid for a few hours in the afternoon, before the wife gets home from her 9 to 5. This will give me time to get stuff done + work in the evenings and I can monitor our son while he's with the nanny.

Marginally related anecdote. My father used to own a daycare center. It was a package deal with a house for me and my mom When he bought it, it was a total shit show. They were feeding the kids crackers and water. He got some better management and things improved, but eventually the new manager flaked. He had a string of bad hires (one woman enjoyed letting the infants suck on her toes) that culminated in a woman embezzling some serious money and bankrupting the business.
 

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We're in a mid-sized city, and when our kids were teeny, were able to find a daycare that served mostly organic & healthy food--the menu was one of their main emphases. It was a 20-minute drive from our house, but well worth it. If they care about feeding kids healthy food, they're going to do other things right--like getting kids lots of outdoor time, appropriate behavior management, enriching activities instead of custodial care, etc.

I'd keep looking for a better daycare. If there simply isn't one in your area, other options might be:
  • hire in-home care
  • a day-care co-op where you share in-home daycare among a handful of like-minded parents
  • in-home daycare in someone else's home (less regulated)
  • create your own in-home daycare (i.e., you hire someone to do the daycare, but also take in a few other kids)
Piggybacking on your bullet points, just discovered this option and heard nothing but great things about it. The only thing is that it’s only 45 minutes

Homeschool Preschool: The Playing Preschool Program - Busy Toddler
 

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