I've just finished my first two days of being a family day home provider. It was both interesting and exhausting. I learnt a lot. For instance, kids will eat and enjoy anything placed before them on the table until someone says the 's' word. Smootch says, to a child with a mouth full of milk, 'that's soymilk,' which she says happily, firmly programmed to see soy analogues as superior to animal products. The child, however, sets down glass of milk and never, ever picks it up again. Same goes with soysauges.
Unfortunately for all of us, the government requires licensed dayhomes (me, me) to feed the four food groups per a meal to the children in our care. And has anyone checked out what the four food groups are lately? Fruit/vegetable, grain (no difference mentioned between processed grains and whole grains), meat and meat alternatives (beans, soy, analogues), and dairy (milk, cheese, or analogues). What that means to us is that we have to feed the kids beans or tofu or nuts or analogues twice a day, which is okay, but also analogue milk or soy cheese (which is not at all nutritionally related to cow milk made cheese and is quite a junky product, not to mention doesn't taste very good). We have to ignore that a serving of whole wheat spaghetti has more protein in it than a glass of milk, soy or otherwise. And that spinach has more iron by weight than a hamburger. Apparently we need 'meat', not protein and iron.
This is a barrier to good nutrition.
Anyhoo, that is a topic for another day. Me vs. the four food groups. Nothing new there.
On the other hand, a really fantastic part of this dayhome biz is that it seriously stretches my creativity muscles. Not just the kiddie crafts, which are completely fantastic, see the fairy puppets that did double duty comforting home sick children:
But every aspect, from structuring the environment to be exciting but not overwhelming, to finding things to talk about, to guiding behavior (from crazed excitment to calm enthusiam), to just finding the energy.
As I said, interesting and exhausting. If anyone has any online resources for me on this dayhome/daycare dealie, I would love to know. Other than that, we will plod along, seeing what we can discover as we good.