The holidays are upon us and no matter which holidays you celebrate, I would guess that you have some family traditions built in that include food. In my family every celebration that we have includes food. There are birthday celebrations with homemade pastas and sauces. There are Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings with homemade pizzelles, a special Italian cookie that is only made for very special occasions. And, I can honestly tell you that the meals we serve are not the healthiest or the most balanced.
The challenge for me is that food is connected to so many of my family traditions and I also know that food is fuel for life. When I think back to my time in a classroom after certain holidays, I know that children behaved differently than normal because their food and sleep habits were disrupted. Within our child care programs, it’s important that we maintain consistent routines and schedules and food so that we can set children up for the highest success rates possible. We need to be certain that we include the appropriate amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to provide their bodies with the right fuel. When children have the right combination of sleep and nutritious meals to get them through their days, they have a better chance of handling the holidays with ease.
As you approach this holiday season inside of your classroom, I hope that you take time to talk with the children about the various traditions that are celebrated within their families. I hope that you share with them the traditions that you and your family celebrate as well. Most importantly, I hope you provide a consistent environment for the children you work with. As a mom, I truly appreciated the work of my children’s teachers to bring a sense of normalcy during a time when the world can seem upside down and inside out to a little one. As a teacher, normal during the holidays may seem a bit boring, but I would bet the children in your classroom will appreciate it more than you may know.