Angela Faye Lyshe-Thierry has operated Kids Are Special People Family Child Care, a family child care home in Avondale, for 21 years. Her program has achieved Ohio’s 3-Star Step Up To Quality rating.
How Angela & Kids Are Special People THRIVE!:
WeTHRIVE! Child Care Wellness Resolution: Angela signed the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Wellness Resolution in 2016. This shows her commitment to provide a healthful environment for the children in her care by following guidelines on physical activity, screen time, safe sleep practices, nutrition, and tobacco.
Ohio Healthy Programs Award: Kids Are Special People was awarded the Ohio Healthy Programs (OHP) designation in 2017. OHP is a statewide yearly recognition program for child care centers that commit to providing a healthier environment for the children they serve through written policies, menu enhancements, Step up to Quality trainings and family engagement. Angela also completed the 15-hour Healthy Children, Healthy Weights curriculum.
Two Bite Club: Angela says that one of her biggest challenges is getting the children to try new foods. She has found that reading The Two Bite Club, a book available for free from MyPlate.org, helps with this. Just like the book, she encourages the children to try at least two bites of a food at meals. “The kids love the book, and I have actually had great success with this ‘trick,’” Angela said. Every child gets to take a copy of the book home as well.
Seeing Success: Angela tells of a child who joined her program in 2016: “On the family information form, the favorite foods listed were French fries, chicken nuggets, and chips. Mom explained that the child does not like/will not eat vegetables at all and will only eat a couple of fruits. Today, the child LOVES veggies, raw and cooked, and also eats a wider variety of fruits.”
No Junk Food Policy: In the past, Angela would ask parents not to bring in unhealthy foods for holidays and birthdays, but they didn’t always comply. When she gave parents a copy of her written policy along with a list of acceptable foods, things improved. “I did receive a little feedback, parents saying there is nothing wrong with giving kids ‘this stuff’ on special occasions,” Angela said. “My response was, while it may be okay every now and then, I work hard to make good choices for the kids in my day care and have pledged to offer healthier food choices.”
Angela’s Tips for Care Providers:
- Don’t get overwhelmed. Angela recommends focusing on one or two goals at a time. She found that the Child Care Action Planning Document helps her see how much progress she is making. “By using that as a visual to see my progress, and checking off completed goals, I felt happy and confident that I could achieve my goals and better my program,” she said.
- Be flexible. “You will probably have to tweak some of your goals,” Angela said. “That doesn’t mean that you’re not doing a good job, it just means that you just need to re-think a goal to make it a better fit for your program.”
- Kids WILL eat healthy foods. Some of their favorites are: broccoli, carrots, green beans, cucumbers, greens, cob corn, sweet potatoes; apples, Cuties, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, honeydew, cantaloupe, bananas; low-fat yogurt with fruit and/or cereal, no-bake oatmeal balls, celery & peanut butter, boiled eggs, whole wheat crackers, fruit or veggie wraps.
In Her Own Words:
“I made the commitment to participate in WeTHRIVE! and OHP because of the importance of teaching and encouraging young children to live a healthy lifestyle, and I felt that I needed some professional assistance in order to do that. Being raised by my grandparents, we didn’t focus much on any of these things and I was a member of the “clean plate” club. It is often a challenge to change from a not so healthy lifestyle, so I find it very important to start children on a healthy path at a very young age.”
“Being a part of OHP has opened the doors for me to take a closer look at my program to see what improvements I can make to help children and families make better lifestyle choices. I’m by far no expert, but the information that I have received during the sessions has helped me communicate more effectively with families…”