Children's Nutrition and Wellness; Employer-Sponsored Child Care Gets It Right from the Start

Health & Nutrition Policies at Employer-Sponsored Child Care

When your working parents place their children in employer-sponsored child care, they look to solve an immediate problem: how to provide secure and nurturing care for their youngsters while they're at work.

But beyond getting peace of mind, parents always have a list of dreams and goals for their children: that this tiny baby will leave care someday as a competent, confident learner, a good friend, a growing reader, and more. And great teachers share those dreams. Much of these hopes are in the social, cognitive and emotional domains; but what about the world of physical well-being and children's nutrition?

Four years ago, Bright Horizons looked at the many ways we have an impact on growing bodies and made a commitment to ensure we were doing our very best to give children in our care the best healthy start in life.

For Working Parents, More Than a Solution to the Childhood Obesity Problem

This commitment took the form of a pledge to the Partnership for a Healthier America, an organization that works to solve childhood obesity. The first national child care and early education provider to do so, Bright Horizons welcomed the three-year commitment as an opportunity to shine an even brighter light on all things we were already doing to help raise healthy, young children. Doing this required a number of specific actions including evaluating all of our health and wellness policies with a third-party reviewer (we received a strong score) and closely examining our child care centers and preschools to see how we were giving children a healthy start.

Employer-Sponsored Child Care: Recipe for a Healthy Start

Some of the important things you'll find at our child care centers and preschools:

  • Moms accommodated when they want to breastfeed.
  • Family-style meals where, with help and encouragement, children serve themselves so they can practice making their own decisions about portions, when they're full, and when they need a little more.
  • One- to two-hours of physical activity daily, both indoors and out - more than the average for children in group care.
  • Healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, served throughout the day (no fried food or sugary drinks).
  • Limited screen time comprised of just educational software and games (no TV or movies).
  • Healthy beverages including water throughout the day and low or fat free milk with meals.

A Successful Trial, a Continuing Commitment to Children's Nutrition & Health

The three-year project ended, but not our commitment. These goals sit very prominently in the annual operational goals for every center, and we measure the success of these objectives just as we measure any part of the curriculum. We want every child to go off to school as a life-long learner and a social and academic success. But what could be more important than giving a child the start of a healthy lifestyle? We know that providing that confidence is a big part of the child care story - another element that enables parents to go off to work without worry. That's why this three-year commitment has become a never-ending goal - to support children's healthy growth...and to get it right from the start.

Hear Bright Horizons founder Linda Mason discuss  our curriculum for fitness and healthy living, and practices for making family fitness fun: https://youtu.be/CZadM_S-PRc And to learn more about our employer-sponsored child care programs, including developing new centers or transitioning the management of existing centers, visit our website.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.