Children in childcare deserve the benefits of healthy food, active play, and limited screen time. Not only will it help them grow up healthier, but children learn better in healthy environments.
However, there are no minimum uniform standards that govern the activities and nutrition of children in early childhood programs across the U.S. That's why the American Heart Association is advocating to incorporate nutrition, active play and screen time standards into Alabama's child care licensing structure for licensed child care centers and licensed home-based child care providers. Through this policy effort, children in child care centers would:
- Receive meals and snacks full of vegetables, fruits and whole grains to help their bodies grow and minds develop
- Get at least one hour of physical activity every day because it promotes health and movement skills; infants would receive tummy time
- Have limited screen time to ensure more opportunities for active place and more time to interact with caregivers and other children
Speaking of standards for licensed daycare centers, you may have heard in the news that Governor Kay Ivey supports all day care centers to be licensed "to ensure that we've got quality folks rendering quality services to protect our children" (source: DecaturDaily.com). The American Heart Association supports this policy effort and is working with Voices for Alabama's Children to introduce legislation in 2018.