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Squash At Drink Time


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Following on from my hand washing question (we are going to fall into line on that one and do the washing thing), I now have a question about drinks.

 

In the hot weather last summer I persuaded the staff to start offering squash, as my daughter doesn't drink either milk or water (yes I know I'm a bad mum!) and she was at serious risk of getting dehydrated.

 

Today we had our EYA in and she picked up on this, and said that no other preschools are giving this as an option for children.

 

Obviously we're aware of the whole healthy eating propaganda, sorry advice, that the government wants us to push, but we (I guess I mean I) feel quite strongly that it is more important that children don't get dehydrated than that we try and push a government agenda.

 

I'm planning to do a straw poll of parents to see what they think, but I'd love to know what other settings do and whether anyone else has children who just don't drink if only water and milk are on offer.

 

Surely if children bring squash in their lunchtime beakers (which most do) it follows logically that we should ban this at lunch times as well?

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Hi Suzie

 

Didn't want to just read and run.......

 

I only offer water or milk - but that certainly doesn't mean that this is the right thing to do........

 

We are mornings only (3 hours) so we don't have the 'lunch box thing'.........

 

I have just one child who is not keen to drink either of our choices - so I give her just a small amount of water on the condition that she does indeed drink it........she hasn't noticed that I am slowly increasing this amount! :o

 

Will watch this thread with interest

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Always just a choice of milk or water in any setting I have been in. I have always found that children will drink if they are really thirsty and quite often parents will claim that their child won't drink anything else but when they see their friends doing so they soon fall into line. :o

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SuzieC8 I think you're very lucky to be in a position to persuade your group to change their policy to meet your child's taste in drink! We offer milk and water only for snack and I have to say that in the past when children say they don't like either, they will drink water when they are thirsty.

 

I think Mrs Ofsted would be very likely to agree with your EYA in saying that providing squash for snack wouldn't fulfil our obligations to provide healthy and nutritious food and drink. I'd be interested to see whether she would take your 'propaganda' argument as a serious justification for offering squash.

 

Obviously it is up to your setting to decide what to do following the advice from your EYA - but I imagine that s/he won't forget and will be checking when she next visits to see whether you've changed your routine.

 

Maz

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we too only offered milk and water, but we did for a long time also offer diluted fruit juice... orange or apple usually... as a compromise to the squash...

 

Lunch time was parents choice, but we did find a lot actually had water or fruit juice in their boxes... which surprised us... but if squash it did give those who were not keen on 'our drinks' to have their own...

 

we did find few actually refused to drink anything and many became so used to water they dropped the squash at home, we often had a parent comment the child was choosing water at home...

 

we stopped the dilute juice as a trail and as no child commented or requested it we used it as a treat ... did not stop altogether but occasionally for however long one carton lasted... which could be a few days... and then a break .

 

A bit like ensuring they all have fruit but what about the child who doesn't like it... ask them to try... as in many cases they would for us but not for parents...

 

we will all have our own views on this and so long as you have valid reasons for what you are doing I don't really think there is any right or wrong..

 

Inge

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Always just a choice of milk or water in any setting I have been in. I have always found that children will drink if they are really thirsty and quite often parents will claim that their child won't drink anything else but when they see their friends doing so they soon fall into line. :o

 

I agree that might happen in some cases but honestly in this case she has a very strong will and just won't!

 

I like the diluted fruit juice idea ...

 

Maz, I put my case and they were happy to do it. But now I'm feeling bad that maybe I shouldn't have pushed for this just for my child's sake.

 

Hmm really not sure what is best to do now xD

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We offer only milk and water but this year and last when the weather has been very cold I have offered the children hot chocolate or warm blackcurrant cordial instead. A similar argument to not getting dehydrated in that I wanted them to have something to help warm them up after playing outside and I knew from speaking to the children both were options at home. I don't know how Ofsted would have viewed it but in a cool at the best of times hall it was the only way I could guarantee they would have something warm.

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We only offer milk or water and all the children do have a drink at snack, when I show parents round the Pre-School I do tell them that we offer water or milk at snack and so far all the parents have supported us in this.

We do offer diluted fruit juice at our Christmas and Leaver party.

 

Kris

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Suzie, when I ran playgroup the PLA, amongst others, were telling us we shouldnt offer anything other than milk or water, so I asked every parent if they would be happy with that and the over whelming response was 'NO'.

So we carried on offering squash and still do. I'm of the same feeling as you that hydration is more important than a bit of sugar, and if its well diluted I dont see a problem. I've worked in nurseries where squash isnt allowed and have seen children go all day refusing water at snack, lunch and tea.

Ask your parents what they think, obviously your admission forms show parents preferences but this would give an overall opinion.

Edited by Rea
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But now I'm feeling bad that maybe I shouldn't have pushed for this just for my child's sake.

 

Hmm really not sure what is best to do now :o

 

I suppose you have to ask yourself - would you have pushed this hard for someone elses child?

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We offer milk water and blackcurrant squash ( Very Weak)

 

Children then have a choice, this is at snack bar time, water is avaiable all session.

 

Mrs O thought it was good that they got to choose for themselves and as the cildren were helping themselves she was more than happy.

Got an outstanding!

 

But I do ask the parents and currently they are all happy too.

 

Big Sue

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Milk and water only for us, we tell parents this beforehand and no complaints (so far!!)

We have one new starter - been with us about 5 weeks now........he always said 'I only drink squash' - but now is both a milk and water drinker.

We have one of those mini water dispensers, and it's suprising how many 'non-water' drinkers soon start drinking it by the bucket load once they find they have free access to it!

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This is such an interesting thread! :o

 

Has got me thinking about what happens when our children move on to Primary School.......

 

At my grandchildren's school, they have to take in a bottle of water, they drink this as and when they want throughout the day, reception class are offered milk (parents opt in or out for this before they start), I'm not sure what they are allowed within their lunch boxes...........will have to find out!

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Guest babyjane31

we too offer only water and milk daily at snack and have a water cooler for access throughout the sessions, many of the children who used to refuse water happily drink cold water from the machine. we did have one child who refused to drink anythingh but squash in the end the parents sent in her own drink bottle with squash in, this was put out with snack none of the other children questioned it and it worked fine for us.

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We offer milk, water, black currant and squash and have never had this come up in an OFSTED - but this is chosen by the parents when the child starts pre-school, they fill in a form which asks them for their child's preference. We also have water available all through the session.

Very often they tick all 4! and then we give milk. I don't think any of them actually have squash.

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I suppose you have to ask yourself - would you have pushed this hard for someone elses child?

 

That one's easy, yes I would definitely, as chair but also as a parent, and at the time it wasn't just my child who was not drinking enough. It was in that really hot weather last year and we had just started doing free flow so they were outside much more than usual.

 

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks that offering squash isn't so bad. Thanks Rea for the fellow Chair support!

 

I get very worried about children at primary school filling up empty plastic water bottles each day. Firstly they don't get washed, but also they can 'leach' chemicals and end up being much worse for them than a drink in a sealed bottle or in a proper sports bottle. At my son's school they take in their own drink and this is just available for them all day, whatever is inside. If they run out they can fill it back up with water.

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SuzieC8 I think you're very lucky to be in a position to persuade your group to change their policy to meet your child's taste in drink! We offer milk and water only for snack and I have to say that in the past when children say they don't like either, they will drink water when they are thirsty.

 

I think Mrs Ofsted would be very likely to agree with your EYA in saying that providing squash for snack wouldn't fulfil our obligations to provide healthy and nutritious food and drink. I'd be interested to see whether she would take your 'propaganda' argument as a serious justification for offering squash.

 

Obviously it is up to your setting to decide what to do following the advice from your EYA - but I imagine that s/he won't forget and will be checking when she next visits to see whether you've changed your routine.

 

Maz

 

Just wanted to respond to your thoughts Maz. I just don't feel that the government are right to push early years settings into taking responsibility for what young children eat and drink or for telling their parents what they should and shouldn't do. The vast majority of parents do an okay job, and I often feel that we are penalising the majority just because some parents don't feed their children properly. We certainly have a role in educating, but not a role in shoving it down people's throats. And in any case, if we take that line, then why just food and drink, what about TV watching, computer game playing, do we have a right to tell parents what to do in those instances?

 

When this whole Jamie's School Dinners thing happened, what seemed like a good idea at the time ended up meaning a huge drop in uptake for school dinners, and consequently probably ended up doing more harm than good because those children who most needed a hot dinner now might refuse it. Similarly, my concerns that children might get dehydrated because we 'decide' for them what they should and shouldn't drink.

 

This one gets me heated (obviously) :o

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Milk or squash, very dilute juice on high days and holidays. Never had a problem, children bring what they bring in their flasks to help themselves to each day, although I do ask that it is water because of other children's possible allergies, but I do know that the children have squash etc. in there - I do draw the line at milk in their flasks though as these are generally not kept at the correct temperature.

 

During the summer we offer ice cubes/lollies with very dilute squash, this seems to have a little edge to it for some.

 

Lunch time - some children bring fruit juice cartons, but by no means all.

 

When Mrs. O. called a couple of years ago, she was not concerned about the dilute squash we regularly offered, but the one rich tea biscuit on offer - apparently had she not seen that being offered we would have had outstanding for Health! Decided that if that was the difference between good or outstanding I couldn't care less :oxD:(

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We offer milk or water and out of 60 children only 2 choose water. We also offered warm blackcurrant and hot chocolate in the bitter weather and I will offer very weak squash on hot summer days to keep children hydrated and at special events.I prefer squash to be a treat rather than the norm. Although we may offer sugar free no preservative squashes in setting children do not make those choices when out and about. Like sweets squash should be occasional.

 

A note on the fruit juice option. A dentist would argue that fruit juice is more damaging than squash as it has a very high natural sugar content and is acidic so unless children are brushing their teeth after they are being coated with just the thing to nicely rot them.

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We offer milk or water and out of 60 children only 2 choose water. We also offered warm blackcurrant and hot chocolate in the bitter weather and I will offer very weak squash on hot summer days to keep children hydrated and at special events.I prefer squash to be a treat rather than the norm. Although we may offer sugar free no preservative squashes in setting children do not make those choices when out and about. Like sweets squash should be occasional.

 

A note on the fruit juice option. A dentist would argue that fruit juice is more damaging than squash as it has a very high natural sugar content and is acidic so unless children are brushing their teeth after they are being coated with just the thing to nicely rot them.

 

Although confusingly I also saw a dentist say that it was a bad idea to brush your teeth immediately after drinking fruit juice as the acid would soften the enamel and you would then end up brushing that away instead!

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so has fruit.. which we give everyday.. diluted it is disputed that it is no worse than fresh fruits..

 

we were more aware of the additives in a lot of squash.. sweeteners in the low sugar ones... my son reacted severely to any squashes... he was brought up on fruit teas... he had eventually become desensitised to them but it took 20+ yrs

 

(same with some breads...had a child at preschool who reacted to that and my son still has to check them for the additives which make them last longer... )

 

Inge

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My daughter has recently had braces fitted and the dentist went overboard stressing that natural fruit juices especially orange were to be avoided at all costs.

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we have milk and water only. We do serve hot chocolate when very cold (as in an old pre-fab building and very cold). Squash at parties.

 

Could non milk / water drinkers bring in their own drink to save you getting 'told off' by LEA and ofsted.

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I don't think it's just about policing children's diets - it's about helping them to develop healthy habits.

 

I have had several children who came to me only drinking squash. As I prefer children to have free access to their drinks in any room it is more desirable for their health and that of my carpets and furniture that what they have access to is water.

 

I wouldn't refuse to allow a child squash especially when they are new to my setting. However I suggest to parents that any squash they send is made gradually weaker until is can't be differentiated from water. I have been known to add some water to their bottles myself too.

 

I have found that after two or three weeks the child is often happily drinking water. I then only offer squash sent from home at the table at meal times.

 

Some parents remain convinced that their child only drinks squash and that's fine.

 

Another tactic is to offer ice in the water. It makes it so much more exciting.

 

I like to think I can sensitively encourage healthy habits without causing the child upset.

 

Most children are pretty good at accepting different routines in different places and that goes for what they eat and drink too. Many children have eaten food for me that they wouldn't touch at home. Copying your peers can be a big motivator.

 

I would be inclined to return to offering water and milk while remaining adaptable to certain children's needs. I'd also keep well out of the way at snack times and allow other members of staff to encourage your daughter to drink weaker squash or water. Given time she may surprise you.

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The vast majority of parents do an okay job, and I often feel that we are penalising the majority just because some parents don't feed their children properly. We certainly have a role in educating, but not a role in shoving it down people's throats.

You'd have to go a long way to find a more vocal advocate of parents and our need to treat them with dignity and respect than me. My decision to only offer milk or water is not about my shoving my ideas down their throats or about slavishly following every Government whim, but is based on my analysis of the information I have at hand from the various organisations offering advice and guidance.

 

Ultimately unless your Local Authority has a very draconian view, there is very little they can do to make you change your minds about offering squash at snacktime. What's the worst that can happen?

 

Maz

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We have water on offer throughout the session, and squash with lunch. This is a system I inherited, as my line manager was concerned about the children who wouldn't drink water. One boy has water on the advice of his dentist. I may ask my line manager about diluted fruit juice instead.

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