Daycare: Friend or Foe?

So Curly has been in the toddler room at daycare for over a week now. As always, there are good and bad things that came of this transition.


  • Curly sleeps on a cot and has usually been taking a nap of one hour or more
  • He gets more time in the outdoor playground
  • He does more ‘toddler’ activities, like coloring and learning basic vocabulary
  • He eats at a small table with the other toddlers (buckled into a toddler chair)
  • He is learning to drink from an open-lidded cup
  • He seems generally happy, no huge emotional change from not being in the infant room anymore


  • Nap time never goes past 2 hours, so if he doesn’t actually sleep during that time frame or is still sleeping when the others wake up, he doesn’t get to try anymore since the cots are put away
  • We don’t particularly care if he can drink from a lidless cup because he uses straw cups at home. And he always seems so thirsty when we get him home…like he doesn’t get enough to drink there, even though they say they offer him water throughout the day
  • Most parents at this daycare apparently do not care if their kids eat crap. So while we pack Curly’s lunch and snacks every day, the kids around him are eating what the daycare provides (ie. ‘crap’) If Curly finishes all of his snack and the other kids are still eating, he of course wants what they have and so they top him off with it. Yesterday that was corn pops. sigh. We feel like jerks to say ‘no, he can’t have that junk’ but we also hate him eating processed, sugary, nutritionally-devoid foods. I just have to remember that I ate crap growing up and I’m a pretty healthy person today. Curly’s’ diet will still be way better than mine was for many years.

I’m fairly certain that while no daycare will be perfect, there are probably better ones than this out there. And yet, they either don’t exist in our area or the waiting list is impossible to surmount (we have him on one…it’s been several months already and they still keep jerking us around about when and if he’ll get in).  It just really sucks to feel like you don’t have a choice.

As with most issues, it’s harder for us than it is for him!
I is a prairie dog

15 responses to “Daycare: Friend or Foe?

  1. It seem overall to be going well, so yeah for that.

    The food thing would really annoy me too, but as long as you guys keep offering him healthy snacks at home, he will be fine. Forbidden foods are more appealing anyways, so maybe by having the stuff occasionally, as he gets older he’ll realize that “real” food actually tastes better than crap.

  2. Riley’s old daycare (that she went to until last week) provided all their food, but Ry only ate what we sent from home. So we sent TONS of food. An extra breakfast everyday (even though she ate breakfast at home everyday), a big lunch and two snacks, plus an extra dry snack so she would always have plenty to snack on and eat and wouldn’t ever feel that she was not getting something the other kids were. They were eating fruit loops. For us, we found that we sent some snacks that I wouldn’t always want her to have, like I’d rather her eat apples than cheddar bunnies, but she loved cheddar bunnies and would rather eat those than fruit loops. That definitely helped. I am thrilled that her new school doesn’t provide any food, it’s so much easier.

    Her new school hasn’t really started yet, but I too am worried that she is going to be super thirsty. She drinks tons of milk from sippy cups now and this place does water from open cups all day too. I’d rather have her drink milk from sippies, honestly, but we will see what happens.

  3. We’re in the exact same boat as you with daycare food. The daycare fee includes breakfast, lunch, and a snack, but we’re sending all of Owen’s food. Occasionally, we get a daily report that says he’s had a pizza crust or some green beans…nothing that bothers us yet. We took a look at the “menu” of meals for the month, and while there is a good balance of fruits and veggies, I see way too much chicken nuggets and pizza to make me happy.

    Like you, I’m hoping we can find a good balance for daycare food. In some ways it seems silly to spend extra money to send food when it is included in our hefty monthly bill, but it makes us feel better about what is going into his body. You should feel good about the lengths you’re going to.

  4. I’m another grumbler about the daycare food. Rosebud moves to the toddler room in a few short months and I’m dreading it.

  5. Can you request that he be moved back to the infants room? Or bring his own cup? I dunno *insert head scratching*, I would think I would want to be the one introducing new milestones and determining his development.
    Love this blog! Always find things I never think of;)

  6. Holland has a 1-3 pm nap time at school as well. He’s been in the toddler room since 8-16 and he seems to be adjusting. We have tried to stick to the same nap schedule on weekends so he expects it.

    Corn pops?!?! Maybe you guys could send more snack or backup snacks so they won’t need to give him any of what they have?

  7. I’m surprised they feed them crappy food. Our daycare provides healthy snacks and lunch (usually a hot lunch.) All pasta, crackers etc. are whole wheat. They eat things like scrambled or boiled eggs, whole wheat waffles, homemade muffins, fruits and veggies and dip etc. for snacks. If they have cereal it’s usually Cheerios or Rice Krispies, nothing too sugary. They do get treats once a week, like ice cream cones for afternoon snack. I was very impressed by the menu when we started there and I still am. They have a cook on-site. It’s all included in the fee we pay. I don’t think I’d like it if they got something like Corn Pops at daycare either (although we sometimes give Erik that at home. :))

  8. Ah! He is SO cute. I can’t believe how much older he is looking. All that toddler time has rubbed off. 🙂 Um, I can’t believe waiting lists for daycares exist, either. Oh, I know they do, but still – for daycare! It sounds like there are lots of good things about where you have him (and thankfully no crazed Desitin users) though the junk food thing is too bad. I work in early childhood – program mgmt stuff – and I see so many terrible, terrible childcare centers/settings where kids get food like marshmallows for snack. Not that it’s comforting, but those kids manage to grow OK, and I’m sure many are not getting the wonderful nutrition Miles gets at home. Still, Corn Pops?, come on! Why are apple slices so hard to do?

  9. If only we could all design our own child watching scenarios!!

    We have got to get our boys together soon.

  10. Our state has laws and daycares must provide food, no outside food allowed. The good thing is they have STRICT requirements on the food and although some of it isnt what I would choose I would be pissed if they gave my kid those kinds of snacks. Wheat thins OK but cheese puffs NO! They need a lesson in nutrition, but the good news is your healthy food will help get that nasty junk out of his system. Its hard to step in and say no but I had to do it with family recently. I told them no soda for maya, so they gave her HAWAIAN PUNCH, they called it juice….AHHHH!

  11. Where the heck is Jamie Oliver? We need him to revolutionize daycare food. Corn puffs? Seriously, what is the point of serving that. I read some of the other food in the comments…chicken nuggets!! OMG This is not right. I naively assumed that daycares would be putting the effort in and serving kids yummy healthy snacks.

  12. Hmm.. that kind of surprises me, too, but I guess they’re going for ease rather than nutrition. Too bad. I agree w/ someone above that maybe you could send your own healthier option.

    But, it beats the last place, right?!

  13. Strawberry & Nutella – I’m not Jamie Oliver, and this may be a little late, but through my work I have the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM) preparing a report providing recommendations for meals and snacks in child care. The report will be issued in November 2010. I suggest that you get your child care center to adopt the recommendations very soon! Based on the report of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and recent reports IOM provided for school meals and other foods in school, you should expect: MORE fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood (for omega-3 fatty acids) and fat free or low fat milk/dairy; LESS salt (sodium), added sugars, saturated fats, trans fats, and overall, fewer total calories. Remember–they need your help and support (and that of other parents) to make this change! You’re doing a great job as parents! Keep up the good work. Love ya!

  14. you know our struggles with daycare snacks also. we are stuck we were are at because it is the best in the small area we live in. the note we sent telling them to please only give him what we send went over really well for about a month. now we are noticing snacks coming home uneaten. i guess all we can do as parents is express to them our wishes and send lot of food with them so they never run out. i have back up cheerios stashed in his bag. i hope it works out for you.

  15. Ugh, daycare food. I can’t even talk about nutrition with most parents because I am apparently so far out of line with most other people. I really think chicken nuggets, fries, and pizzas should be pretty much banned for children. There’s a 10 month old at our daycare who gets juice boxes and cheezits in her lunch. Yikes!

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