The Importance of Good Nutrition and a Well Balanced Diet in Children 0 – 6 Good nutrition and a healthy balanced diet are important for young children, introducing a healthy eating plan at a young age will benefit a child later in life. For the first 6 months of a child’s life their nutritional needs are meet with either breast milk or formula milk. Breast milk is mostly recommended as it contains more nutrients and immune boosting substances. There are many health benefits of breastfeeding.
Reports suggest that breastfeed babies are less likely to have illnesses and infections, as well as have better mental development, better mouth formation and stronger teeth. (breastfeeding. ie, Feb`13). Formula milk is also nutritional and has its own benefits as it’s made as close to possible to breast milk. If using formula milk hygiene is very important as feeding equipment is perfect places for bacteria to breed and cause sickness i. e. ; stomach upset and diarrhoea. (nshhealth. com, Feb`13).
From 6 months onwards infant rice/cereals can be introduced, it’s not recommended before this as baby’s stomachs may not be able to digest food properly. Milk should still be their main source of nutrition with new foods, tastes and textures introduced slowly. Ideally first foods should be pureed to a runny consistency, progressing to lumpy textures and then chunks and finger food. A healthy diet is one that encourages children to eat many different types of food. The Food Pyramid is a good way to ensure children are getting the essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for good growth and development.
The Food Pyramid. Encouraging children to eat a verity of foods from the main food groups is a good step to a healthy diet. * Bread, cereals and potatoes group – these foods are carbohydrates which provide children with energy to grow and play * Fruits and vegetables – these foods give vitamins and minerals * Milk, cheese and yogurts – these foods contain calcium for healthy bones and teeth * Meat, fish and alternatives – these foods contain protein and iron for growth and good body function * Fats, oils and sugars – these foods should be eaten a small amounts as they contain fat too much of this is bad for the health.
Children under 2 should be given full fat foods as they have high energy needs, but high fat high sugary foods sparingly. The Impact of Nutrition and Exercise on Children Nutrition and exercise are important for children as a well balanced diet which helps them grow and develop, and exercise helps strengthen their body, which in turn affects them in adulthood. With good nutrition children are getting the vitamins and minerals they need to help fight off colds and other infections, so benefits them health wise. Providing children with a nutritional diet at an early age can only help benefit them in adult hood.
Exercise is equally important for children. Simple activates such as running, jumping and climbing are fun and easy for young children. Physical activity along with a healthy diet will ensure that children keep a healthy weight. Exercise also strengthens bones, muscles and joints which will also benefit children in adult life. When children are active they are using more energy which can affect their appetite and aid sleeping as their using more energy and may feel hungrier and more tired. Sample Menu for Child Under 1 Breakfast – Cereal/porridge, Bread/Toast
Lunch – Sweet potatoes, chicken and spinach Dinner – Fish, carrots and broccoli Snacks – Fruit, yogurt, rice cakes Drinks – Water, Milk Sample Menu for Child 3 – 4 years Breakfast – Cereal, Toast Lunch – Spaghetti Bolognese Dinner – Chicken and Rice Snacks – Fruit, Yogurt, Vegetable pieces Drinks – Water, Milk, Diluted fruit juice Health and safety is vitally important within a childcare setting. Good hygiene is key to helping stop the spread of disease and infections. Most common infections are easily spread among young children as they have a tendency to put objects i. e. fingers, toys into their mouths, which gives germs the chance to either enter or leave the body and pass on the infection. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to * Attacking the source of infection by identifying and treating the sick child, this can be done by use of a quick morning health check and sending home the sick child if necessary * Attacking the route of infection by general and personal hygiene practices i. e. ; washing of hands and disinfecting of toys and surfaces. * Protecting the next person by good hygiene practices, healthy diet and immunization.
Infections and disease can be spread in a number of ways * By Air – coughing, sneezing which can lead to cold, flu and chickenpox . Symptoms of which are cough, fever, runny nose or rash. * By Human Waste – i. e. ; urine, stools which can lead to salmonella, hand foot and mouth disease. Symptoms of which are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. * Direct contact with infected hair, skin and objects can lead to scabies, head lice or impetigo. Symptoms include rash, itching or visible nits or eggs. * Direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids which can lead to HIV, AIDS or hepatitis B and C.
Symptoms which include fatigue, yellow skin and weakened immune system. Ways to help reduce the spread of infection include, * Hand washing – using running water and liquid soap dispensers if possible * Washing and disinfecting toys daily * Washing frequently used surfaces often and floors daily * Wearing disposable gloves while nappy changing or dealing with any bodily fluid * Opening windows to all ventilation where possible * Exclusion of sick child if necessary until after treatment Nappy Changing / Toilet Area
Health and safety extends to the nappy changing / toilet area. The area should only be used for changing and away from where food is prepared. It should have a sink close at hand with running water for washing hands before and after changing. Should be made up of a flat surface at a comfortable height with a guard rail for extra safety. It should have a clean waterproof surface free of any cracks, with a padded cover for comfort. Keep creams and cleaning items out of child’s reach, but within your reach. Never Leave A Child Unattended. Guide to changing a nappy Get organized – gather all items needed, wash hands, Put disposable cover (paper towel) on changing mat, put on gloves, * Remove soiled nappy – fold nappy inwards and roll nappy into its self, put soiled nappy into covered lined bin
* Clean the child – use disposable wipes/cotton wool and water to clean child’s bottom, put soiled wipes into covered lined bin, if using reusable/towelling nappies put into plastic bag without rinsing to avoid cross contamination, use soap and running water if more washing is needed, air or pat dry with paper towel, remove disposable cover and gloves and put into covered lined bin * Put on clean nappy – use cotton wool/tissue to apply any creams if needed, note any skin problems, put clean nappy under child and fasten, if using pins place hand between nappy and child, * Wash child’s hands and place child in a safe place * Clean and disinfect changing area * Wash hands Sterilising Bottles * Wash hands under running water. * Wash bottle in cold running water use bottle brush and check teat. * Put bottle, teat and lids in to sterilising unit. * Following manufacturers guidelines sterilise for required time. * Wash hands. Preparing a Bottle * Wash hands under running water * Boil water and let cool. * Remove bottle from steriliser
* Poor required amount of cooled water to bottle * Using scoop provided measure formula Level with back of sterilised knife, do not packing powder into scoop * Add powder to water following recommended guidelines equal formula to water * Put top on bottle and shake to mix * Check temperature and rate of flow on inside of wrist before feeding baby. Feeding and winding a Baby * Having checked temperature and flow on wrist, find a comfortable position * Have baby slightly tilted but in comfortable position * Have bottle tilted so that teat is always full of milk * Baby will tell you when they have had enough * Carefully put baby against your shoulder and gently pat or rub their back If some milk comes back up when winding (spitting up) there are different possible reasons for this; * Baby may have drank too much milk and is spitting up the extra * Baby was lying flat whilst feeding Bouncing baby around mixes air and milk so they come up together * Crying before feed or during feed * The baby had sucks of air instead of milk * Hole in the teat was too small making baby suck harder therefore taking in air with milk. In order to help ensure the stop of infection among young children a morning health check is a good way to help detect any signs or symptoms. It is just a quick way to check the child’s general well being, it can be done as part of the greeting the child. Morning Health Check
* General mood or changes in behaviour; look to see if the child is happy, sad, cranky or sleepy. * Fever or high temperature; feel cheek or neck to see if child is hot or clammy * Any noticeable rashes, spots or swelling Complaints of pain or feeling unwell * Signs or symptoms of disease; coughing, sneezing, vomiting or breathing difficulties * Any reported illness in family Use all 5 of your senses 1. Look for signs 2. Listen for complaints 3. Fell for fever 4. Smell for unusual odour If u have any concerns about a child it is best to talk to the parents there and then and discuss what action to take next. Wither the child is to go home with parent or stay in the playschool and if so when to ring parent if needs be. If the child does stay make sure you inform the parent of any changes in the child’s health, also changes in appetite, behaviour or sleeping pattern.