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To approach nursery about birthday treats - what is the norm?

(24 Posts)
feelinginthedark Wed 27-Jul-16 22:08:59

We have just moved back to the UK from the US, so want to see what people consider the norm... In the US we lived in a large city and found people to be pretty health conscious. Common snacks for toddlers were fruit / veg sticks/ savoury crackers / dried fruit. Typical treats for birthdays in preschool were things like a single iced cupcake, or fun fruit skewers. I know a lot of people will reply saying that that sounds grim but, because the kids didn't expect junk, they were delighted with the treats they got.

DD aged 3 has just started nursery here, and in two weeks there have been two birthday parties. At each the kids have been given a slice of chocolate cake, Rice Krispie treats, and a packaged bar like a treat sized Crunchie. I think the parents provide the cake, and the nursery provides the other sweets. I'm not questioning whether this is healthy or unhealthy, but rather if this is typical for nurseries? Her class is large so this isn't a once-off but will happen at least every two weeks. Will I come across as a loon if I bring it up with the nurseryconfused? Really not happy. Thanks in advance!

ReluctantCamper Wed 27-Jul-16 22:14:32

Not normal at my sons nursery. They normally get a slice of birthday cake for their pudding and that's it.

All was good until I sent him to after school club where they shower them in sweets hmm.

SavoyCabbage Wed 27-Jul-16 22:17:16

I wouldn't consider that the norm. Having a party actually at the nursery. It seems like a bad idea to me as, as you say, they will be doing it almOst every week. It could get really competitive too! Some parents won't do it which would be sad for their dc and others will start hiring clowns.

At my dd's nursery they made a cake out of the play-doh during the session and then sang happy birthday during the singing part of the day. People did send in sweets though which got on my nerves as my dd has anaphylaxis so I would have to take them off her.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 27-Jul-16 22:19:07

At my nursery they send kids home with the goodies and it's whatever the parents have sent in. Anything from one small piece of cake upwards. I'd say it's at least once a fortnight. I think that's ok. Dd is 4 and usually has the treat for pudding sometimed shared with her sister.

FiveFullFathoms Wed 27-Jul-16 22:19:37

Not typical here. Nursery do a special song for the birthday child and make a bit of a fuss of him/her but there are no extra sweets or cakes. Sometimes the birthday child will bring in a small treat (like a mini bag of Haribo) for the other children to take home.

Katkincake Wed 27-Jul-16 22:22:33

DS sometimes gets small bags of Haribo jellies for birthdays. Not every parent does it, never had cakes due to allergies. Don't think they do parties but do sing happy birthday.

Pardonwhat Wed 27-Jul-16 22:23:40

I wouldn't worry. Would once a fortnight kill him? Probably not. Don't be that Mum!

minipie Wed 27-Jul-16 22:23:56

Just whatever the birthday child has brought in here. They sing happy birthday but no "party" at nursery.

Peppapogstillonaloop Wed 27-Jul-16 22:25:56

That seems weirdly ott, do they actually have a proper party at school or is this a party outside of nursery? Here it would be one mini sweet/cake/whatever assuming parents remember (always forgot blush)

PotOfYoghurt Wed 27-Jul-16 22:27:30

Ours give out a chocolate biscuit as part of snack if it's somebody's birthday. Normally they just have fruit.

OwlinaTree Wed 27-Jul-16 22:28:38

Parents bring in a cake and all the children have a bit for pudding/snack time at my son's nursery. I've never known him have sweets, that's not to say it hasn't happened!

Lucked Wed 27-Jul-16 22:28:43

At our nursery it is just what the patents bring in, normally the large supermarket tray cakes and the kids get a about a 5 cm square at home time.

No party though.

Fortybingowings Wed 27-Jul-16 22:29:06

Normal. Mine enjoy their friends' parties in nursery. They also bake cakes and buns with the staff occasionally and then bring them home.
Our nursery offers healthy snacks and meals but in glad the kids get to enjoy these treats too.

WhooooAmI24601 Wed 27-Jul-16 22:29:38

That was the norm at DS2's nursery.

The flip-side was that it was in an old farm building and the DCs were out in the orchard every single day no matter the weather, so a treat every now and then didn't hurt. If it's an issue just ask nursery to avoid allowing your DC the treat. I'm sure they'd cater to your wishes as best they can; DS2's nursery catered to nut allergies, lactose allergies, all sorts of dietary requirements.

pasbeaucoupdegendarme Wed 27-Jul-16 22:30:23

I don't know about "daycare" style nurseries, but my dd's nursery class at school don't do anything other than wearing of the birthday hat and singing. If parents send things in, they're sent home with the children at the end of the day - these are usually mini bags of haribo or freddo/milky bars and so on.

LyndaNotLinda Wed 27-Jul-16 22:33:09

Not the norm, no. At DS's preschool, they sang happy birthday and that was it.

At school (DS is now 9), they are allowed to give out treats in school but the children are not allowed to eat them - they have to ask their parents. They are typically one of those tiny bags of Haribo or a chew.

pointlessperson Wed 27-Jul-16 22:36:10

When doing work experience in a nursery during college the nursery would supply a load of bread (usually tiger bread) and the kids would have that with a candle then snack

Just birthday cake in DD's nursery when the parents brought it in. We always did and a few others too.

feelinginthedark Wed 27-Jul-16 22:45:49

Interesting to hear the mix of experiences here. It just feels OTT to me, especially as they also sometimes bake cakes in school which they bring home with them. Thanks 😀

Daisygarden Wed 27-Jul-16 22:58:12

Ours only give out what the parents bring in (i.e. a cake) otherwise no extra sweet treats from them (they do make a card and sing happy birthday though). Also, they give the treats/cake in the middle of the day when parents aren't there, I think that's in case a parent goes over the top with the cakes/treats because I'm pretty sure they would not give anything over a small square of cake. If parents were ever to bring in cake plus chocs plus sweets for example then nursery would definitely ration that out.

I would bring it up with the nursery. It's not necessary to have that many treats for every birthday (even though I'm pretty relaxed about such things, what you describe seems excessive to me).

MrsJoeyMaynard Wed 27-Jul-16 23:02:41

At the 0-5 years nursery we used, it was fairly common for children to bring a big cake in for their birthday, which the staff would share out among the children as pudding at dinner time.

The pre-school nursery attached to school, some children would bring in cakes or small packets of sweets, but these were handed to parents at the end of the day, and it was less often than at the "daycare" type nursery. Lots more out of school class parties in the pre-school nursery too.

madein1995 Wed 27-Jul-16 23:04:26

Not at the nursery I work at. Normally parents send in cake so each child gets a slice after tea (they also have yogurt or cake after lunch but this birthday treat has happened once in 4 months so 2 slices of cake at nursery every 4 months isn't a big problem as not often) children who can't have that cos of allergies etc get another bit of the lunch dessert or a homemade biscuit so as not to be left out. I wouldn't be happy with that op. Apart from the health concerns it'd be in staffs interest not to because 30 3 year olds on a sugar high would be my idea of hell!

Airandmungbeans Wed 27-Jul-16 23:06:23

Our nursery provide a cake (made by their cook) if a child's birthday falls on a day that they are in, but absolutely no sweets or junk. It completely goes against the EYFS for a start, which states that " Where children are provided with meals, snacks and drinks, they must be healthy, balanced and nutritious."

Providing brought in sweets and junk also massively increases the risk that potential allergens are missed and in turn increases the chance of an allergic reaction. Very poor practice.

Taking home treats that other parents have sent in is fine, as the parent can make the judgement. Baking cakes etc is also fine as it teaches the children valuable skills and again, the parent can make the judgement when the item is sent home.

confuugled1 Wed 27-Jul-16 23:43:48

It's been a while since dc were at nursery but they were at a small family run nursery owned by someone who was also a nutrition expert and it was all home cooked food and so on.

Birthdays - dc used to take in a small treat to send home with others in the same homeroom. Was typically a mini bar or one of the mini bags of haribo.

Wasn't any cake - although for the afternoon tea there would be home made biscuits or cakes (albeit not fancy iced ones, more pound cake type cakes) that they would have after their sandwiches/cheese and crackers/beans on toast/etc and veg/fruit. Remember that at age 3 their dietary requirements are different from adult requirements and they need the extra energy so something like a home made cake can be good for them (ds2 was particularly tiny and devoured vegetables like there was no tomorrow - at that age the dietician recommended that he try to eat home made cakes as a way of getting him to get more calories and nutrients into him because he was filling up on cucumber and pepper and not getting enough protein and fat - obviously we had to try to get him to eat other stuff too but cake was definitely something we had to encourage).

The nursery also discouraged dried fruit because of the high concentration of sugar in it - supposed to be very bad for toddler's teeth. And I'm not sure that Health and Safety would have thought much of giving toddlers fruit on sticks - fruit would be fine but sticks would have been potentially risky in case they poked each other with them!

I'm not that sure if there's that much difference between a cupcake (especially if it's a typical cupcake with a big swirl of buttercream icing) and a slice of cake. Whether it's flavoured with vanilla or cocoa, they're both going to have similar amounts of sugar in. Although I agree that I'm not sure that I'd want them to have cake and rice crispy cakes and a crunchy bar for their tea - I'd be fine with a slice of cake or a cupcake, ok with an occasional rice crispie cake (especially if they'd all helped to make them). Wouldn't expect them to have a bar of chocolate!

I wonder also if the slice of cake vs a cupcake is a cultural thing - cupcakes are becoming more common here now (even if they have wiped out fairy cakes and butterfly cakes in the process! - which were the little cakes that were a lot more common when I was growing up) but for a birthday it's still a lot more usual to have a cake to slice and share rather than cupcakes to hand out individually - particularly when they are so tiny!

I think so much of it will come down to the ethos of the individual nursery so it is worth talking to them about it. But it does also sound a bit like you're determined to find the nursery that your dd went to in the states to be much better than the ones in the UK. It could just be the individual nursery you've chosen, but it's worth stepping back and considering if you're unconsciously wishing you were back in the US or biased against the UK in some way. I wouldn't say that what your US nursery did sounded grim - but I would say that it shows that they weren't up to date with what's actually a healthy diet for a toddler but more preoccupied with showing that they were 'healthy' by using guidelines meant for adults rather than children. Having said that, the UK nursery doesn't sound like it's that healthy either if it's giving cake and rice crispie cakes and chocolate at the same meal on a regular 'standard party' basis!

Sorry, just realised that this sounds a lot more negative than I thought it was going to be when I started out. Definitely worth talking to the staff I'd have thought to see if you can find some sort of compromise that works for everyone.

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