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pingaa3 06:26 PM 05-14-2008
Hey folks, I'd love some tips here. We are a SMALL in-home daycare. I mean we have three paying kids and my one autistic 4 year old. Next week we are getting 4 new kids and this puts us at capacity. We've had this many before and really felt overwhelmed.

I would love any organizational, meal prep, zen relaxing meditation tip you may have.

I have a separate room for napping and a pretty large (400 sf.) playroom designated only for daycare. I have a huge kitchen and medium sized fenced yard.

I suck at meal times and am incredibly sick of trying to figure out what to feed everyone.

Any tricks, tips, etc?

pingaa3 in California
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Unregistered 07:55 AM 05-15-2008
I would start off with making a general schedule for the day, and stick to is. It doesn't have to be minute to minute, just general, like breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 12, nap time at 1. If you have young ones that nap 2 times per day, lay them down the same time each day and they will fall into the routine. While the young ones are napping in the morning, do your preschool activities during that time. When it is time to fix lunch, set everyone down for a movie or quiet time while you are in the kitchen.

As far as cooking. I know your pain of trying to please all. You never will, but that is ok. Start out by making up a menu of maybe 5 meals that "most" will eat, and start from there. Add new things as you go. My rule here is I offer at least 3 foods at lunch time. If you don't eat, your loss. I don't make something else for the picky ones. And, don't eat your lunch, don't get a snack after nap. My rule. Food costs have went up so much in the past 6 months, I refuse to waste anymore, even if it is a tablespoon. Waste is waste no matter how small. Once you find 5 meals all will eat, add 2 more to the mix, then just rotate them daily/weekly, and keep adding something new every now and then.

I hope this helps. I quit trying to be a gourmet cook, and I quit trying to make my "lunch" be the child's biggest meal of the day. I am to serve them lunch, and I was always brought up that supper was the big meal of the day, not lunch. I feed them healthy and well here but in moderation, no more waste for me.
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Unregistered 09:17 AM 05-21-2008
I am on a government food program. It is great. They offer a large menu with lots of options. If I have questions or need some new ideas I give my sponsor a call. Plus, I get paid per child I feed. It is not alot but it helps. Lunch is a big meal for my day care kids, most won't get dinner till 5:30 or later. And if a child doesn't eat lunch, that's fine, but they still get their afternoon snack. By law children have to be offered for every so many hours. Even if they didn't eat their lunch.

Alot of the time I use leftover from my families dinners for lunch the next day. And some meals I repeat weekly, i.e. pizza with lettuce and tomatoe salad and milk.

www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/cc
This site should be helpful for you.
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mac60 07:36 AM 05-27-2008
I would just like to say that no child ever goes hungry here. But, if you can't eat your lunch, you certaininly arn't going to get the fun things to snack on. I even had a parent suggest saving what they didn't eat from lunch, covering it, then offereing it to them for snack. The cost of food it too high to allow children to repeatedly waste it.
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Tags:california, meal schedule, tips for providers
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