Rhio's Casa Dei Bambini

A Private Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten

Academic - Character - Creative - Social - Physical

Free the child's potential, and you will transform him
into the world.

~Maria Montessori~

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header picture girl with paint earth

Eating Policy

Teaching children to be healthy eaters

We all want children to see food as a source of both nourishment and enjoyment, but not use it as a substitute for love or comfort. We want them to learn to eat a variety of foods and to listen to their internal hunger and fullness. Thankfully, there is a lot parents can do to foster healthy attitudes about food and nutrition. The following are five ways to encourage healthy eating habits and healthy attitudes about food.

EAT TOGETHER - We're all busy! Many people often eat standing up in the kitchen or in front of the television. The single most important thing you can do to foster healthy attitudes about food in your children; is sitting down and eating with them! Discuss the foods (how it tastes and smells where it comes from, why it is good for us, etc). Create mealtimes that are happy, meals that involve conversation and laughter. Keep your mealtimes free of stressful nagging, criticism, or arguments.

BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL - Children learn from adult examples. Let children help in the kitchen. They can tear lettuce for a salad, wash veggies, learn to set the table, etc. Involving them in the process of preparation makes them have a connection to the foods they eat. Some of the most important habits to model and do:

  • Eat Breakfast - Children are more attentive and learn more efficiently.
  • Eat Your Vegetables/Fruits- Let your children see you eating and enjoying vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat Healthy Snacks- Forego the chips, candy bars, cookies, sugar; provide fun and healthy snacks. Fresh, dried or frozen fruits, vegetable sticks, nuts, air-popped popcorn, fresh juice smoothies, juice pops, etc.
  • Farmer's Market/Supermarket- Take them with you and show them the variety of colors in produce and foods, let them choose some foods to take and try at home.
  • Grow a Garden- Children are fascinated by watching seeds turn into plants. Take a simple flower pot by a kitchen window and grow herbs and vegetables.
  • Rhio's Casa dei Bambini fosters a strong sense of community amongst children, parents and teachers.

OFFER HEALTHY FOODS - Children will learn to eat healthy foods if those are the foods available. Candy, cookies, or processed foods won't temp them if they are not in the cupboards. Have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter or in the fridge at all times: Have celery and carrot sticks, radishes, broccoli, cucumbers, sweet peppers, yogurt, and cottage cheese with fruit available to little fingers in the fridge. Buy rice cakes, granola, muffins, tortillas, pita breads, whole grain breads, pastas, etc. Ice cream, sodas, sweets, chips, cookies should be eaten occasionally. Children should drink lots of water to keep hydrated.

LET CHILDREN DECIDE HOW MUCH TO EAT - Many parents agonize over how little or how much their children eat. Research has shown that children whose parents are less controlling of their food intake are better able to regulate food intake themselves.

Remember that children are smaller and need much smaller portions. Children 1 to 6 years old eat frequently about every 2 - 4 hours. Children's' food intake will vary as their growth speeds up and slows down in growth spurts. Some days they may seem to eat very little, but they will make up for it by eating more the next day or the day after. Pay special attention to their lunches; find out what they enjoy and what they are leaving behind. Allowing children to decide when they want more and when they have had enough, teaches them to recognize inter cues of hunger and (fullness).

DON'T USE FOOD AS A BRIBE OR REWARD - Let food remain food, a source of nourishment and enjoyment. Telling a child, "I'll give you a cookie if you stop crying" or "If you behave at school I'll make you favorite dinner" makes food into a bribe or reward which elevates the status of food. Cook their favorite meal because they ask you. If you feel like going out for ice cream cones do so, but don't make it a reward for behavior


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Eating Policy

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