Nutrients and vitamins are just a few of the benefits of snack time at daycare. It’s also an ideal opportunity to foster healthy lifestyle habits in children and help them develop a positive relationship with food. We’ve compiled 7 tips to help you set the stage for learning and socializing during snack time.
1. Eat with your hands
Eating with your hands is a wonderful way to develop your coordination and a fun way to discover new types of food! Snacks that are easy for small hands to handle make a great choice: cheese cut into cubes, sliced raw veggies, small fruits, etc.
2. Have washcloths close by
You may be tempted to disregard eating with your hands because of the mess it will create. Don’t worry! By leaving washcloths, sponges and paper towels on the table you will help children develop proper hygiene rules and it’s practical too.
3. Use kiddie furniture
Even if seeing a little kid in a chair that is twice their size is super cute, furniture that is specifically designed for children is your best bet! Children will be more comfortable in furniture that is adapted to their size and they are less likely to injure themselves. A children’s furniture set lets you create an area that is exclusively for their use.
4. Adults should participate in snack time
Mealtime at daycare is a golden opportunity to socialize for children and adults alike. By sitting with the children and sharing the same snack, you will promote a sense of belonging within the group, you will strengthen their trust in you and you will help children who are picky eaters develop a larger palate by imitating you. If you want the optimal experience, place yourself in the middle of the action. Choose a table that will allow you to interact with all of the kids.
5. Spaces that foster interaction
Children should sit around a table that allows them to see and interact with each other. Encourage them to talk to one another and you’ll see them learning new words and practicing their language skills. For younger children, a multi-purpose table can be used as a highchair for several children at the same time and allows them to socialize in a common space.
6. Ask the children to participate in snack time tasks
Make it a habit to include the children in the snack preparation process and encourage them to offer their help with setting the snack table. Depending on the child’s age, you could give them a role to play like handing out bread or filling their friends’ cups with something to drink. Participating in meal preparation is also a great way for children to develop self-confidence.
7. Create a snack experience
The snack itself doesn’t have to be the only highlight of mealtime. Try creating an experience around the snack that begins long before the food comes into play. For example, you could read a book that mentions a new ingredient and then serve something similar at snack time.
Feeling hungry? Tell us how you plan to make snack time a learning experience in the comments!