There are many things you need to be aware of when feeding children meals and snacks.
Safe feeding practices include:
Be sure you and any children you are watching wash hands before eating or preparing food.
Be aware of choking hazards and practice good habits during mealtime. For example, don’t play games at mealtime because a child may giggle and choke on a mouthful of food. In addition, don’t serve smooth, round food that can slide down into the airway like hot dogs or grapes to children under the age of five. Don’t give hard food like hard candy to children under the age of five either.
Be aware of food allergies, and only give food that has been approved by the child’s parent.
Be safe when preparing meals. Avoid using the stove to prepare food, and if using a microwave, let the food cool in the microwave a few minutes before you take it out. Test the temperature of all food to be sure it’s not too hot.
Healthy snack or meal ideas include:
Cheese and crackers
Hummus with crackers or pita bread
Cottage cheese with pineapple slices
Whole grain cereal with berries and milk
Remember your ages and stages!
Infants depend completely on you for all of their needs. They will take bottles and need to be fed baby food. Make sure you ask the employer for specific directions about feeding an infant.
Toddlers mostly depend on you for all of their needs. Remember to always wash a toddler’s hands before and after eating; they can be messy eaters. Also, don’t forget to secure the safety straps on high chairs.
Preschoolers are mostly able to do things alone. Even though preschoolers can wash their hands, they need reminders before eating. Preschoolers like to do things on their own including eating with a spoon and cup.
School age children are able to do things alone and don’t require help with eating, though they may need reminders to wash their hands. Be aware that they may push snacking rules. Always follow the employer’s rules.
Every babysitter needs to know how to rescue a choking child. Learn choking infant rescue and choking child rescue in a Safe Sitter® class.