Jul 27, 2010

McDonalds and Daycare

So, I had a bit of a rant over at the fanpage....well, actually, it was pretty close to virtual blows, wasn't it??  It started when I said that taking a daycare child to McDonald's was grounds for termination.(if you're looking for it there on the fanpage, you have to go all the way to the beginning of July)  I ruffled a LOT of feathers.  But I still stand by my thoughts.

Here's how the whole thing started.  I belong to a parenting group in the city that I live in.  One woman commented how she'd taken her children into McDonald's and let them play in the playplace.  At the same time, there was a couple of childcare providers who were letting their charges run around the playplace...one had wet his pants and they shrugged it off and sent him back to play without changing his pants.

(note, I will not be quoting word for word what the original posters said, as it is a private site and I don't have their permission...therefore, just the basics of the story for background info)

Okay, here's my thoughts.

I am a child care provider.  I am paid to ensure that other people's children are well taken care of during the day.  I take them on outings, I feed them healthy food, and I teach them about respect and manners.  On a very, very rare occasion, I have taken my charges to McD's...but I think (without any stretching of the truth here) that there were maybe 3 McD trips in 5 years.  Yeah...it's that rare.

See...I feel that McD's is not the best thing to be feeding kids.  I can make burgers at home that are much healthier.  Ditto for fries and nuggets.

"but, Hethr, I don't buy my kids fries or serve them pop, they get apple pieces and juice!"  I don't give a rat's behind!!

To me, it's NOT about the food that you are feeding them there.  As I said, I've done it myself on the very rare occasion (and yes, they had both pop AND fries) -- to me, it's the atmosphere that you are bringing the kids into. They are going into McD's and learning that it's an okay place to come and play...regardless of whether or not they eat the food, they will also subconsciously get the message that eating the food there (whether you choose salad or a Big Mac) is also okay.

Guess what -- It's NOT okay.

America (and let's not kid ourselves, my lovely Canadian and European readers, we are included in this too!) is currently suffering a major crisis.  We are all getting fat.  That's right, we've passed the "overweight" mark and moved on to obese.  The raging morbid obesity that we see around us every day is also causing another "new" epidemic - diabesity.  When I first heard of this term, I thought that my instructor was saying Diabetes wrong -- but no, it's an actual epidemic.  It is diabetes that is caused by obesity.  We are living it.  When we bring our kids to crap serving dives like McD's you are simply setting them up for failure.

I had people jump on me (not necessarily on the fan page, but definitely on the parenting page) for my views.  Some said "Well, I only take my kids there in the winter...we can't be expected to go outside in the winter with kids."

Hmmm....I do.  And if it's really cold and you're planning on taking them out to an indoor play park, there are plenty that are available in my fine city that don't carry the message of "buy junk, eat junk, be happy".

Then....I just about fell over....One woman said "well, I take my kids to McD's 3 times a week and my parents have never complained."

You have got to be kidding me!  I'd pull my child from care faster than you could say "do you want fries with that?"  THREE times a week???  Are you NUTS??

I don't know...I don't think that my home childcare standards are exceptional by any means.  I have a pretty basic approach to my chosen children...I treat them like my own.  They learn love and trust and values in my house.  We don't have a curriculum, we live a family life.  We make some crafts, we sing some songs, we read books.  (no, I don't bake with my kids...I'm much too anal for that!) -- but I bake for them and then we eat it together....

I don't see how McD's fits into childcare...with the exception of those very rare occasions.  It just doesn't work for me.


Keahn said...

Wow, we're in California, but can I bring my grandchildren to you? :) I miss living in the midwest / east part of the country, where people use the term "pop" instead of soda or soft drinks. Your children will grow up to love you (your own and the gajillion you watch like your own). I occasionally take our grandkids to McD's (usually because I want the latest Happy Meal toys), especially if I have more than, say, 5 of them at once (we have 12). I remember when our daughters said that they'd NEVER give their children McD's OR french fries or whatever. As soon as life got a bit busy, that changed. But, overall, they all feed them healthy homemade meals as the norm. They are all much more health minded when it comes to the grandchildren, than I was raising them. And that's a good thing. :-)

Meaghan said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I cringe when my provider serves Kraft dinner, but then again, I'm super-picky about junk. It's true though - the McDonald's marketing towards children is already so insidious and overexposed that we need to be that last line of defence, to truly teach them the cultural concept of cooking and sharing real food in the home. Well said :)

NanLT said...

Given what a childcare provider actually makes per hour per kid, how can one AFFORD to take their charges to McD's 3 times a week??

If my kids are going to get junk food, it will be because I gave it to them. If a child care provider did it, especially if I found out it was a regular thing and not just a one off -- it'd be grounds for dismissal. No doubt on that.

Anonymous said...

Where were you when my kids were little??? I tried very hard when my kids were small to NOT get them addicted to candy/sugar. Guess who fed them all that when I wasn't around? No, I didn't take them away. I was a single parent at the time and worked loooong hours. The fact that I even had someone was a blessing to me at the time. I didn't have the time to keep searching for new dayhomes. It's such a struggle to find good daycare people. Thanks for your rant, Hehr!! Thanks for standing up for your beliefs!! The parents of your charges are very lucky people!

NanLT said...

Hethr - I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. For helping me to understand the Muslim religion a little more better. And for giving me a laugh and a chuckle that only mums could understand.

angelsun said...

Totally enjoyed your blog right up until the smack at American culture and food. Sadly, many women have body issues and not everyone was intended to be "model thin" depite what the media promotes as being beautiful. Obviously, body issues extend to those "under wraps" as well. Eating fast food once in while won't corrupt anyone including children, and some of us are even civilized enough to be able to use a series of forks properly.

As to dirty pants, that's a whole other subject and goes back to home training (or the lack thereof) and certainly reflects poorly on the care giver. It's totally irrelevant in regards to nutrition~or perhaps I've totally missed the gist of this tale. Obviously, bad manners aren't limited to Americans . . .

Hethr said...

@ angelsun - first, I don't ever ask anyone to agree with me. Second - I don't have ANY problem with curves and lusciousness (as you can well read here.

I also never said that eating out once in a while is horrible. I happily take my kids out to fast food every now and then.

I have an issue with DAYCARES doing this. It should NOT be allowed, and if MY child were in a daycare that did this more than every 3 or 4 months, I would pull my child from the care.

Try reading the article again...sans judgment.

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