Navigating Cold and Flu Season
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As parents, we all want our little ones to stay healthy and happy. However, it’s no secret that young children can be particularly susceptible to colds and the flu. If your child attends daycare, you may have noticed that illnesses seem to make their rounds quite frequently, particularly for those in the 12-18 month age group. This may raise concerns among parents, but it’s essential to understand the underlying cause.
Here at Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we provide an environment where children come together to learn, play, and interact. While these interactions are incredibly valuable for their social and emotional development, they also mean that children are exposed to more germs and viruses than they would be at home.
But believe it or not, this early exposure to various illnesses can be beneficial in the long run. Our immune systems learn by doing. When children are exposed to viruses, their immune systems learn to recognize and fight them off. This exposure helps build their immunity, making them less susceptible to similar illnesses in the future.
Although no parent wants to see their child sick, young children often bounce back from illnesses more quickly than adults. Their bodies are primed to recover swiftly, which means that while they may experience more illnesses, these illnesses tend to be milder and shorter in duration. It’s all part of the learning process their immune systems go through.
Cold and Flu Prevention
That said, as we approach cold and flu season, there are some things we do at each of our locations to help prevent the spread of illness. One of the most effective ways to minimize the spread of illnesses is through proper hygiene. Hand washing is a crucial practice that we encourage among both children and staff. Our daycare facilities are equipped with sanitation stations, and our dedicated team ensures that children wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
Nutrition also plays a significant role in building a robust immune system. We believe that nutrition plays such a large role in our children’s development that nutrition (and physical activity) is one of our 4 Pillars of Learning, in addition to Language & Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), and Mindful Awareness. We focus on providing balanced meals and snacks that support your child’s health and well-being, as a well-nourished body is better equipped to fight off infections.
In addition, we maintain open lines of communication with parents. If your child isn’t feeling well, we need to know. By keeping sick children at home, we can help prevent the spread of illnesses within our daycare community.
Preparing for Cold and Flu Season
As a parent, there are several steps you can take to prepare for cold and flu season and help keep your child healthy:
- Teach Good Hygiene: Encourage your child to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Teach them to cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, ideally with a tissue or their elbow.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Provide your child with a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to support their immune system.
- Get Plenty of Rest: Ensure your child gets enough sleep as it plays a vital role in immune system function.
- Consider Probiotics: Some studies suggest that probiotics may help boost the immune system. Consult with your pediatrician or family doctor before adding any supplements to your child’s diet.
- Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about current health guidelines and recommendations, especially during cold and flu season.
- Get Some Vitamin C and D – Whether it is by natural method (sun/oranges) or supplements, it’s important to get these vitamins.
While it’s common for children to experience more illnesses in daycare settings, it’s part of their natural immune system development. Alpha’s Discovery Kids is committed to creating a supportive and healthy environment for your child, and we encourage parents to partner with us in supporting wellness initiatives. By teaching good hygiene practices, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and staying informed, you can help your child stay resilient and thrive, even during cold and flu season.
Cultivating Healthy Bodies and Minds: The Importance of Physical Activity & Nutrition for Children
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As an Early Childhood Educator and a mother, my life’s mission has always been clear: to provide children with the best possible start in life. I deeply understand the significance of nurturing every facet of a child’s development. This unwavering commitment led me to create a comprehensive educational framework known as the Four Pillars of Learning.
The Four Pillars of Learning, prominently displayed in every classroom across our three Alpha’s Discovery Kids locations, ensure that children have access to a well-rounded education. These pillars address a child’s physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being and comprise Language & Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), Physical Activity & Nutrition, and Mindful Awareness.
In today’s world, where childhood obesity is on the rise, it’s crucial that we take a proactive approach to children’s health. This proactive approach begins with education, instilling the importance of physical activity and nutrition right from birth.
Physical Activity: Building Strong Bodies and Minds
Physical activity isn’t just about keeping the body in motion; it’s about nurturing the mind and promoting emotional well-being. The benefits of physical activity extend beyond the physical; they encompass mental and emotional health as well. Engaging in physical activities can improve bodily functions, elevate mood, and promote the healthy development of bones and muscles.
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we recognize the importance of physical activity in the early years. We firmly believe that building a foundation for physical well-being early in life can positively impact a child’s entire existence.
In early childhood, children are naturally active, curious, and fearless. They have a genuine willingness to explore and discover their own abilities. This is a crucial time for them to have opportunities to climb, run, crawl, dance, jump, balance, and engage in a multitude of activities. These activities not only build physical strength but also foster self-confidence, coordination, and concentration right from an early age.
In our daycare setting, we wholeheartedly embrace the significance of physical activity, both indoors and outdoors. We understand that children need a variety of movements to support their growth and development. Whether it’s gross motor skills, involving larger muscles and movements, or fine motor skills, which focus on smaller muscle groups like fingers learning to grip a pencil, we ensure that both are a part of the daily routine.
For gross motor skills, we often engage in activities like engineering with building blocks or encouraging kids to run and play outside. Fine motor skills are honed through activities such as threading beads or playing with playdough. This comprehensive approach ensures that children are developing both their larger muscle groups and their fine motor control.
Nutrition: Fueling Healthy Lives
In tandem with physical activity, proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in a child’s development. At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we embrace family-style dining, where children sit together at a table with a teacher, and are encouraged to be independent. This approach brings several benefits. It empowers children to portion their meals themselves, fostering a sense of self-regulation and helping in the battle against childhood obesity.
Furthermore, family-style dining exposes children to a balanced menu with foods from all food groups, ensuring they receive the essential vitamins and minerals they need. Variety is at the core of our nutritional philosophy. We encourage children to explore various foods from diverse cultures, expanding their palates and discovering different flavors, textures, and tastes. Our emphasis is on whole foods with minimal processing, a fundamental principle in our approach to nutrition.
Setting a positive example is of utmost importance. Children often emulate the eating habits of adults, so we, as caregivers, should strive to be good role models. We should not only focus on what we eat but also how we eat and when we eat. Involving children in meal preparation, from setting the table to selecting fruits and vegetables during grocery shopping, gives them a sense of involvement and helps them understand where their food comes from.
In addition, teaching children to recognize proper portion sizes will help guide them on how to satisfy their hunger without overeating or undereating. This sets the stage for a healthy relationship with food that can last a lifetime.
The Physical Activity & Nutrition pillar at Alpha’s Discovery Kids is not merely a program; it’s a way of life. We are passionate about nurturing children’s physical well-being through a combination of active play and nutritious eating. We firmly believe that by instilling these healthy habits from a young age, we are laying the foundation for a lifetime of well-being and success. Every child in our care is treated as an extended part of our own families, and their health and happiness are our top priorities.
For more information, or to book a tour, please contact us!