For Parents

happy parents with two children

Partnering with Child Care Providers

The first five years of a child’s life are crucial for development, with 90% of brain development occurring during this time. A child’s nutrition and physical activity are two factors that greatly impact this development.

Child care providers are important partners with families in raising and helping children grow and develop in their first five years. With many children spending 40+ hours/week in child care and consuming around 50%–75% of their daily calories there, it is important to consider a child care program’s nutrition and physical activity policies when choosing a provider for your child.

How to Partner with Your Provider

As a parent, there are lots of ways you could partner with your child care provider as you both work to raise happy, healthy children.
  • Offer healthy meals at home, including a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Encourage trying new foods at home - children who are used to being offered new foods are more likely to try new foods.
  • Send healthy snacks for a birthday or holiday party at child care.
  • Play outdoors at home during all seasons.
  • Dress your child for active play when you drop them off at their child care program, including comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and close-toed shoes.
  • Provide weather-appropriate clothing for outdoor play in the winter, and sunscreen during the summer.
  • Show your child care provider how much you appreciate them every day, but especially on Provider Appreciation Day, which occurs annually on the Friday before Mother’s Day.


Do you know how much time a child should ideally spend being active while at child care? Or how many servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should ideally be offered? Use the following resources to become more familiar with nutrition and physical activity best practices. Note: Best practices often exceed licensing requirements or other state/local regulations. Remember to thank your child care provider for offering healthy foods and promoting active play.

ChildcareAlive! Training and Curriculum

ChildcareAlive! teaches children the best things to eat and the best ways to play so they can grow up healthy. This program and training also supports child care providers in their efforts to provide healthy foods and active play opportunities to children. Ask your provider if they have taken the ChildcareAlive! training and signed up for demonstration visits.