K.G. asks from Mill Valley, CA on January 19, 2010
Sugar at School
Hi Moms, I have 3 &5 year old daughters, who attend preschool and pre-k. Our preschool has a no sugar for treats (bdays, christmas, etc.) policy, but the pre-k does not. I really try to avoid sugar whenever possible, however I am not a no sugar mama.
AT Pre-k I feel there is sugar all the time, bdays, treats, special project (ie fruit loop necklaces, chocolate frosted cookies for holidays, etc). Today one of the teachers brought sugar topped sugar cookies and my daughter had three in her lunchbox to bring home. I told the director I thought the fruit loop necklaces was too sugary (not to mention the dye) and I would rather we use a different cereal or pretzels. She responded that they provided both cherrios and fruit loops and my daughter would just have to make a "good choice" next time.
I like the school and may continue onto K-8, but I am just at my end with the sugar. How can I approach it? I feel like the director is not really open to input from family which really bothers me. Has anyone had an experience like this and navigated it without conflict? Thanks so much for your input.
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thanks to the mom's who actually read what I was asking and did not flip out and respond to their own issues.
I have taken alot of your experience and support and decided not speak to the director at this time. I spoke with my daughters teachers and let them know that when most kids take 1 or 2 cookies, my daughters eats five and puts more in her bag for later. On her own she will always over do sugar and has huge crashes because of it. I also realized that my daughter has more of a reaction to sugar and especially chocolate than other kids so I have to address it specifically with the teacher. They were very supportive and said they would help her to enjoy future sweet snacks in moderation and keep an eye that she doesn't overdo it.
Thanks again for the support!
T.H. answers from Sacramento on January 20, 2010
How about suggesting cheerio-fruitloop-cheerio? As for the cookies, have her bring them home and then ration them and use the opportunity to teach sharing with the family.
H.A. answers from San Francisco on January 20, 2010
I agree with you! That would drive me crazy. I would talk to the director of the school and consider changing schools if you don't have good feedback. It is crazy for little ones to be eating that much junk. I am not a sugar-free mamma either, but little ones can only eat so much in one day and I want what they eat to be good for them! Also, asking a three year old to make a better choice between cheerios and fruit loops is completely ridiculous!
S.B. answers from Redding on January 20, 2010
No offense, but you should make a list and think about what it is you are actually asking of the school director before speaking to her again.
Are you asking for your own dietary restrictions for your own child to be followed?
Are you asking that their stance on allowing any sugar whatsoever be changed?
Are you asking them to enforce limits based on what you believe to be appropriate?
Were you just stating an opinion or were you asking to implement change?
What specific changes are you asking/expecting to be implemented?
How do you expect the school to go about implementing the changes you propose?
How much time/energy/expense are you willing to donate to assist in fostering these changes?
Are you certain that all the other parents feel the same way you do and will ask/expect the changes you feel are necessary?
Are you prepared to define necessary when it pertains to other children?
Are you prepared to remove your child if the school does not change things according to your input or expectations?
Ask yourself these questions and then answer them honestly.
One year, in my daughter's class, there was a parent who put her foot down about any sugar being allowed. The teacher took it and ran with it. ONLY healthy snacks were allowed. Fine. However, that turned into the mom not liking cheese being allowed because dairy is bad, not liking fruit muffins, homemade zucchini or banana bread because flour is bad or it contained eggs, not wanting anything baked with honey instead of sugar, not wanting strawberries because some kid MIGHT be allergic and even orange slices COULD cause a canquer sore.
That mom and teacher pretty much had parents after them like villagers with pitchforks and that's not really much of an exaggeration. At first the principal said that every class does things differently and it's the teacher's discression. Well, when everybody except one parent wanted their kid moved to a different class, the logistics of that became a problem and he had to put a stop to all the food banning. It had gotten way out of hand. If a parent doesn't want their child exposed to something, it doesn't mean other children can't be.
You're upset about a fruit loop necklace? Really?
You're upset about your kid bringing home cookies as opposed to eating them in class? Really?
My kids never ate all the stuff they got as far as cookies or special cupcakes. They brought them home to show me and share. It really can be about the fun of the activity without it meaning the school will be turning your child into a sugar maniac.
One of my son's best friends was raised Jehovah Witness. He has always been excused from school for anything having anything to do with a "worldly" celebration or observance. His parents take him out that day.
You have that option as well.
If you want things made out of pretzels, buy the pretzels and ask if it's okay for you to be there one day to help out.
Again, ask yourself the questions first. Do you want things changed for your child only, or for everyone else as well. Are there compromises and what will you do if others don't see it the way you do? If you teach your child that sugar is bad and you tell the school she can't have any, your child needs to know that's where you stand. Put her on a list saying she can't have anything at school with sugar, but don't expect everone else to limit their children according to you. You might have some great tips that they appreciate. But it also could backfire if you make too much of it.
I've seen that happen and it wasn't pretty.
Best of luck.
2 moms found this helpful
J.P. answers from Stockton on January 20, 2010
I kinda think that you are over reacting....that the teacher sent the cookies home shows that she is being respectful and letting you choose how many and when she will get the cookies. As far as the fruit loop necklace, I know when my kids made that kind of thing it was few and far between, and they wanted to show it to me so they didn't eat them....and when we got home I would tell them that they could eat 5 loops off their necklace....it's not really that big of a deal. I would imagine that they do limit how many sweets your kids are getting when they do have parties or special occasions. There is going to be sugar everywhere you go, there is no getting away from it.
2 moms found this helpful
K.F. answers from Salinas on January 20, 2010
Hi K.- Welcome to the big wide sugary world! It only seems to get worse as they get older. Our Charter school is pretty good about serving healthy snacks for projects and in class stuff but there is no policy for class parties and birthday celebrations. My girls are in 2nd and 6th. The little one is offered treats quite a bit. With 22 kids in the class celebrating b-days and holiday parties it works out to a lot of food I never would offer her myself. While I don't like it I cannot really control it and it pales in comparison to the food freedom they have as they get older! I just try to counter it with less sugar at home. If you really look at what she's eating at home you can reduce sugar in her diet there. "Juice" drinks, yogurt, snack foods even some breads have a lot of high fructose corn syrup and other sugars. If you limit it where you can the sugar at school won't be over the top. While I agree the school should be more focused on nutrition be careful about making too big a deal out of it. Before you know it your concern will be labeled as controlling and your daughter may suffer, sad but true. Other than "suggestions" I would just focus on great nutrition at home and talking to your daughter about not over indulging. This is the beginning of your loss of control over the details of your daughters life. Blink and she'll be in middle school walking to the store with her friends and $5 in her pocket and believe me the last thing you'll be worried about then is sugar! Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
C.H. answers from New York on January 19, 2010
its your prerogative as the parent to say what your child can and can not eat. You need to sit down with the director and talk to her about what can be done between you, your child, and the school. Most places will/should have healthy alternatives that your daughter can choose from. I know that as a former teacher (and before our school had a no food policy) some parents would send in healthy alternatives that I kept in a container for moments like this. With all of the food allergies out there I am surprised to see that your school is still handing out "treats" to the kids!
You should sit with her and just openly discuss how you feel it isn't good for your daughter but how much you love her (the teacher), the program, the staff etc. so she isn't just focusing on the negative criticism (she might think) on the food/treats! You might also get your pediatrician to write a letter stating that your daughter needs to be cautious about food exposure, etc. Other parents in your school might also feel this way - have you talked with any of them? Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
B.R. answers from Sacramento on January 20, 2010
Most centers I've worked in allow treats for birthday celebrations and such, but avoid sugary treats being provided by the school or teachers. If these are being provided occasionally (say even once a week) I wouldn't worry too much. If they are on a daily basis, I think I would talk with the teacher. Perhaps you can ask that your daughter be limited to just one cookie or treat each time. It wouldn't do to request that she not be given any, as that would be more like a punishment for your daughter. As far as the Fruit Loops/Cheerios necklaces are concerned: that is a great small motor activity for the children. Your daughter is going to most likely choose the Fruit Loops because they are colorful and Cheerios aren't. I believe there may be a cereal that is colorful but not as sugary as Fruit Loops. If you can find something like that, perhaps you could purchase a box of those and donate to her class for the project. I don't think I'd actually be too concerned about the sugar in the Fruit Loops though. Another thought is that if you feel she's getting an abundant amount of sugar at school, you may simply have to cut more of it out at home than you normally would in order to balance it out. Unless there are other issues with the school, it isn't worth pulling her out, or having a bad relationship develop between you and the teachers over a sugar issue.
1 mom found this helpful
J.M. answers from Sacramento on January 20, 2010
Both the prek and elementary schools my kids attend outlaw sugar. But the reason they give is 1. crowd control and 2. doing their part to prevent health problems like diabetes (both kinds have been found in kids now!!!)
If you approach the director out of class for a scheduled appointment and give her reasons like health and teaching sound nutrition, even go to your pedi and get info to give her... We have to teach our kids to make the right choices... and putting sugar in front of them, they'll choose instant gratification every time... they're 5! They don't know better!!! We have to set the example... and what kind of example is the teacher setting? And how does your daughter act when she comes home on a sugar high??????
Good luck... it's a big issue!
N.P. answers from Modesto on January 20, 2010
My point-of-view seems different from the rest, so far.
In today's world, we're LUCKY to find a place where our minds can be "relaxed" during the day because we know our children are being well taken care of at "school". We may not always agree with their routines, and food choices, however, like life....we have to accept the good with the bad.
If they are a licensed pre-school in California, then they have food guidelines to follow daily. Allowing Froot Loops is probably just fine, as long as they are providing the remaing food groups, as they're supposed to. Because of the guidelines, I wouldn't worry too much about the Froot Loops because I'm sure your daughter is getting everything she needs "food-wise".
The only way to insure that your daughter is completely sugar-free, would be to keep her at home with you until she goes to school. But even then, you will have this issue, because of the parties. BUT.....your daughter could end up like my youngest son.....he doesn't like most sugary items (cupcakes, etc...). So, his choice is usually "no thank you" when there are parties at school.
In the end, I wouldn't give your pre-school too much grief. If they are taking good care of your daughter for you, then the Froot Loops are minor. However, if you are unhappy with their care, then I would switch to another place to ease your mind.....but, you'll find sugar everywhere in reality :O)
R.K. answers from San Francisco on January 22, 2010
I TOTALLY SUPPORT YOU!
how dare they make those kinds of choices for your children? sugar is a drug, especially the refined stuff, and ESPECIALLY for the little ones! i don't really have any advice, but if i were you i'd tell them not to give my kid any refined sugar. period. there are SO many treats out there with no unrefined sugar. at halloween time i bring my own candy for them to give my 2.5 year old daughter. she deals with it, and so do they. do whatchu gotta do, mom. YOU are in charge - they work for YOU, not the other way around.
peace and good luck!