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The Juice Ban

Until September, I had spent almost the last five years as a family daycare provider. I took care of kids from newborn through kindergarten, including my own two little ones. There are many things I miss about doing daycare, but to be honest there are also a lot of things I do not miss. One of those things would be preparing snacks for a gaggle of kids. Not only did all these kids have different tastes, but I always found it difficult to find easy-to-prepare meals that were healthy. With my own kids, I would sometimes be more lax, but with other people’s kids and as a professional, I always tried to keep a high standard.

Not to mention I was leery of too much sugar or anything that would add to the already normal chaos level of the average day.

That’s one of the reasons why I was also VERY stingy with juice for the daycare kids, as well as my own. Whatever juice I was serving in my house was at least 50 percent diluted with water, and even then, juice was only served with a morning snack. The rest of the time it was milk or water. The amount of sugar in most juices was ridiculous.

That all being said, I have to admit I was more than a little surprised when I saw that a bill had recently passed the California Assembly on a 42-21 party-line vote and is now moving to the Senate that restricts how much and what kind of juice is served in licensed daycares. Juice would have to be 100 percent juice and only served once a day. The bill also states that milk served to ages two and older would have to be one percent. Children with special needs or whose parents send them with lunch would be exempt.

Most parents are familiar with these standards; most of us have heard them frequently from our pediatricians soon after our children are born and especially once they are old enough to drink more than just milk and water. But it’s a far cry to hear these recommendations from a pediatrician and forcing licensed daycares to follow them.

Still, I have to say I agree. This is no different from current attempts at restricting and changing what schools can serve for lunch. And any daycare in California who was part of the food program (which no longer exists) knows that inspectors were already checking the items in their fridge anyway and held daycare providers accountable for what they fed the children in their care.

I am kind of lucky in that I can look at this form both a mom’s perspective who did have a child in daycare for a couple of years, as well as a licensed daycare provider myself. And I do not think that these requirements are any different then the many other standards daycare providers are supposed to follow when maintaining a licensed facility.

As a mom, I think that when you’re paying a professional to take care of your child, that professional should be looking out for your child’s best interest.

If you have a child in daycare, what are our thoughts on this? Does your daycare provider already follow these guidelines, and if not, why not?

Photo by stevendepolo.

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