Answers to “Frequently Asked Questions”

vertical_bar Infant and Toddler Information:


vertical_bar Child Nutrition Information:


vertical_bar Classroom Support & Inclusion Information:


vertical_bar Child Behavior Information:


vertical_bar Miscellaneous Information:

How can I get my child to talk about what he/she did at school today?
What are the signs of Postpartum Depression?

Answers & Resources:

What are the signs of Postpartum Depression?

Temporary feelings of sadness or anxiety that get stronger or continue more than a few days after a mother gives birth may be signs of postpartum depression. Fortunately, effective treatments exist. Talk to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Exaggerated mood swings. From moment to moment you might go from feeling happy to being irritable or crying uncontrollably.
  • Fatigue. You feel exhausted most of the time.
  • Appetite disturbances. You have a loss of appetite or are eating too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating. You feel confused or seem to forget things.
  • Inability to cope with everyday situations. You may feel overwhelmed or helpless.
  • Low self-esteem. This can include feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Lack of interest in the baby. Or, you resent the baby or other family members.
  • Fear of harming yourself or your baby. Contact a health care professional immediately if there are thoughts of injuring either the parent or the baby.
  • Anxiety or panic. You have a fear of losing control. Physical symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath may occur.

Child Nutrition Information

What are good lunch options for my child?

Toddlers & Preschool Age Children Need:

  • Fruits and vegetables – 2 servings each per day
  • Whole grains – 4 daily servings
  • Milk and dairy – 3 servings or one pint of whole milk per day.
  • Protein – 2 servings a day

School Age Children Need:

  • Vegetables - 3 to 5 servings per day
  • Fruits – 2 to 4 servings per day
  • Whole Grains – 6 to 11 servings per day
  • Protein – 2 to 3 servings of 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day
  • Dairy products – 2 to 3 servings (cups) per day of low-fat milk or yogurt, or natural cheese (1.5 ounces = 1 serving)

Click on links to see examples of lunch options and how presentation can encourage children to eat:

  • Tiny Tummy Healthy Lunches: 
















































    • Lemon pepper chicken breast, cheddar Cheese, sliced apples, kiwi, raisins and baby carrots
  • Toddler Lunches:
















































    • Chicken, mixed vegetables, cheese and strawberries
    • Turkey burger, oranges, peas, corn and lima beans 
    • Fish sticks, corn, lima beans, squash and hash browns
    • Turkey and cheese hearts, applesauce, carrots and hummus
  • Healthy Lunches:
















































    • Turkey and cheese sandwich, cheddar rice cakes and strawberries
    • PB&J rollups, carrots, cucumber and strawberries

How can I get my child to eat healthier?

  • Be a good role model. Most of the parents we know complain that their children refuse to eat healthfully and come to us in search of magic recipes that will put an end to mealtime madness. The real problem most often lays with the parents, not the kids.
  • Take your kids shopping with you. Take them when you’re not in a hurry and spend a lot of time in the aisles that contain unprocessed foods — the produce, meat, and fish departments, for example. If your child appears to be interested in a certain type of fruit or vegetable, encourage him or her to explore that item; don’t just assume that your child won’t like it. Take it home and let him/her try it so he/she can make his/her own decisions.
  • Be flexible! Remember, anything in moderation is okay. Of course, if you eat doughnuts in moderation, followed by potato chips in moderation and soda in moderation, it is no longer healthy. Having a cookie every day and balancing it with healthy foods is a better practice of moderation.
  • Make mealtime special. There are all sorts of fun things we can do to make mealtime special. First and foremost, sit down and enjoy your food. Take time to savor flavors. Children should never eat while walking around.
  • Don’t be a short-order cook. Ever find yourself making one meal for the adults in the house and another for the kids — or even one for each kid? Children take their time warming up to new things and if you keep giving them the old standbys they’re not going to branch out and explore new foods. Be patient.
  • Don’t buy into marketing for kids. Kids don’t need frozen chicken nuggets, French fries, macaroni and cheese, and pizza to keep them happy. Highly processed foods like these are loaded with chemicals, synthetic fats, additives, artificial sweeteners, and food colorings. As early as three years old, a child can grasp why sodas aren’t good for you and why we don’t eat foods with lots of fat every day at every meal.
  • Don’t use food as rewards, bribes, or punishments. Okay, we know, M&Ms have a long history as the bribe candy for potty training — even the most health-conscious mom will break down and try M&Ms during that oh-so-critical stage of development. Don’t give in! Stickers work just as well and you won’t be setting a precedent for using food as a bribe or reward as your child gets older.
  • Let kids help in the kitchen. Encourage your children to help out in the kitchen. With proper supervision even a child as young as three-years old can help peel potatoes or carrots.
  • Love and accept your child no matter what! Love and accept your child at any weight, size, or shape. During childhood, growth is unpredictable at best. It comes in spurts and a once-skinny child can suddenly plump up while his height catches up with his weight. There’s a lot of pressure in our society to be thin, and you might be tempted to put your child on a diet during a growth spurt, but that won't be helpful and may even cause emotional and physical damage.
  • Make sure your child eats breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, and it should ideally be the largest meal of the day to get your child off on the right foot. After ten to twelve hours with no food it’s important to refuel the engines. If they don’t eat in the morning they’ll be tired and unable to concentrate in school before lunch. It’s essential that children jumpstart their metabolism in the morning so their bodies don’t enter starvation mode, which might later cause them to experience difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight.

What do I do if my child is a picky eater?

Perhaps no single factor influences a child's health and lifelong well-being more than food patterns established early in life. Contrary to many parents' assumptions, children are not by nature finicky eaters. In fact, childhood is characterized by exploration; and children are naturally curious about foods, their textures, shapes, colors, and flavors. Parents too often create finicky eaters by conveying their own likes and dislikes to their children through words and actions.

Picky eaters are going through a normal developmental stage, exerting control over their environment and expressing concern about trusting the unfamiliar. Many picky eaters also prefer a “separate compartmented plate,” where one type of food doesn’t touch another. Just as it takes numerous repetitions for advertising to convince an adult consumer to buy, it takes most children 8-10 presentations of a new food before they will openly accept it.

Rather than simply insist your child eat a new food, try the following:

  • Offer a new food only when your child is hungry and rested.
  • Present only one new food at a time.
  • Make it fun: present the food as a game, a play-filled experience. Or cut the food into unusual shapes.
  • Serve new foods with favorite foods to increase acceptance.
  • Eat the new food yourself; children love to imitate.
  • Have your child help to prepare foods. Often they will be more willing to try something when they helped to make it.
  • Limit beverages. Picky eaters often fill up on liquids instead.
  • Limit snacks to two per day.

Classroom Support & Inclusion Information

How can I get help for my school-aged child who needs early intervention services?
The Inclusion Department at the Early Learning Coalition provides inclusion support services for children ages birth to five. If your child is in the public school system and requires early intervention, please contact the Exceptional Student Education department for your child’s school district. They will be able to assist you in determining your child’s needs.

Who can test my child for developmental delays?

Your pediatrician is the best resource for conducting a developmental assessment for your child. Additionally, feel free to visit for information on milestones and developmental delays from the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What can I do if my child is exhibiting challenging behaviors?

Social emotional development is an integral part of a child’s development. It is important to remember that there is a reason for every behavior, and it is up to us, as adults, to determine the reason so we can then work on preventing it. The following websites offer strategies and helpful information on challenging behaviors for young children.

Where can my child attend child care if they have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders?

If your four year old child has a medical diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders, he/she can be provided with pre-school services through your local school district. There are also local private schools that provide care for young children with Autism. You can contact the UF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at 904-633-0760 for a list of schools and for additional resources for children with Autism, or visit their website at

Que apoyo existe para los niños en cuyos hogares se habla Español la mayor parte del tiempo?

Nuestro departamento the Inclusión puede compartir estrategias con los maestro y  personal que cuida a su  niño(a), estrategias de como enseñar  y alentar a los niños que están aprendiendo ha hablar el Ingles  en el salón de clases.  Si su hijo(a) es un niño(a) que esta aprendiendo el lenguaje Ingles, pídale a su maestra(o) que contacte a nuestro departamento de Inclusión al 904-208-2040 ext. 3 para apoyo y asistencia. 

Why can I understand my child but other people can’t understand what my child is saying?

At approximately 2 to 3 years of age, most children have enough vocabulary (approximately 40 to 100 words) that they are able to express their wants and needs to familiar adults with relative ease.  The child’s pronunciation of those words is often filled with normal developmental errors in speech sounds including the dropping off of sounds at the ends of words.  This makes it difficult, at times, for strangers to understand a young child’s speech.  By about age 4, a parent can expect their child to have communication skills that more resemble adult conversation and enough speech sound development to be understood 80% to 100% of the time by non-familiar people.   

Child Behavior Information

What if my Child Keeps Getting Bitten by Another Child?

Biting is a very common behavior among toddlers. Children bite in order to cope with a challenge or fulfill a need. For example, your child may be biting to express a strong feeling (like frustration), communicate a need for personal space or satisfy a need for oral stimulation.  With a lack of language skills, toddlers often resort to biting.


  • If possible watch your child and see why he or she is biting and address the issue before your child attempts to bite. Distract the child with a toy or book, suggest how your child can handle the situation that is triggering the need to bite, and suggest ways to share.
  • When a toddler bites, keep your feelings in check. Calm down before you respond to biting concerns.
  • Say to the child: "Ouch! Biting hurts. We use our teeth to bit or chew food." 
  • Comment on how the other child is feeling. Let the child know that biting hurt the other child. If possible, engage the child who bit in comforting the child who was bitten.Keep it short, simple and clear.
  • Pay attention to the child who was bitten and not to the child who was doing the biting. Show concern and sympathy for the child who was bitten.
  • If the child is verbal, try to talk about the experiences of biting and model some other strategies the child can use instead of biting.
  • Help the child who was bitten move on.  The child who bit and the child who was bitten do not have to play with one another unless they want to.

For additional information check out the Zero to Three website at and search “Why Do Toddlers Bite?”

What if the childcare workers tell me my child is aggressive?

Children often behave differently in different settings. If the child care professional is telling you that your child is being aggressive follow these steps:

  • Ask the child care professional to be specific in describing how your child is being aggressive. What does it look like, when does it happen, how does the aggression affect the child’s performance in the classroom?
  • If possible, have the child care professional take photos or videos of your child being aggressive.
  • Ask the child care professional what strategies they are using to help your child deal with aggression. Ask if you could implement the same strategies at home so that the child will see consistency in how he or she is dealing with aggression.
  • Keep the lines of communication open and praise your child for the good behavior that he or she is exhibiting. If your child is being aggressive, agree on consequences that could be used at home and in the classroom.
  • If your child continues to show aggression, ask the child care professional to contact the Inclusion Department at Early Learning Coalition. The Inclusion Department staff can conduct observation of the classroom and provide strategies for the teacher for children with aggression.

What if the teacher tells us me that my child is not meeting certain milestones at school but he/she is exceeding these milestones at home?

Healthy development means that children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up where their social, emotional, and educational needs are met. Having a safe and loving home and spending time with family –playing, singing, reading and talking – are very important. Proper nutrition, exercise and rest also can make a big difference.

Children develop at their own pace, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when a child will learn a given skill. However, the developmental milestones give a general idea of the changes to expect as a child gets older.
As a parent, you know your child best. If you feel that your child has met certain developmental milestones but those milestones are not being recognized at a child care setting, do the following:

  • Tour the child care facility. Make sure to look at all of the rooms in the child care setting. What is different from your home setting that may make it impossible for your child to meet a developmental milestone? Share those concerns with the child care director and teacher.
  • Meet with the teacher and ask for specific information about your child’s progress.  Ask the teacher to provide detailed information about what he or she is seeing in regards to your child.
  • Share specific information that you see with your child’s progress. Take photos or short videos of your child progressing through a milestone and share that with the teacher.
  • Explore reasons why your child may not be meeting milestones at the child care setting. Come to an agreement (in form of a plan) of how to best encourage your child to demonstrate mastery of a milestone in the child care setting. Ask the teacher to praise the child for his or her efforts.
  • Keep lines of communication open with a weekly journal between the teacher and parent.
  • Plan an advanced meeting to review the plan you have set in place to help the child demonstrate milestones in the school setting and make adaptations or changes as the team sees fit.
  • For more information, go to the CDC website

Miscellaneous Information

How should we partner with teachers on potty training?

As in all things, communication is the key when parents and child caregivers are talking about whether or not a child is ready to learn to use the potty.  Sometimes the caregiver or teacher will notice that a child is showing signs of being ready before the parent simply because the teacher is with the child for most of the time that the child is awake during the day.  Parents and teachers must be in agreement about the plan in order for the potty training to be successful.  Parents will need to let the teacher know which words the child will use in his or her family for the various body parts and bodily functions.  Parents may also need to provide special items such as child-sized seats for the toilet and lots of extra underwear.  It will be important for teachers and parents to communicate with each other about how the child is doing every day during the first few months of potty training.

How can I help my child deal with transitions to new classes?

Young children need to feel secure and comfortable in their childcare setting.  It can be upsetting to have to move to a new classroom with a new teacher.  Parents and teachers should work together to make the transition go smoothly for the child.  Parents should be sure to meet the new teacher and visit the new classroom before the transition takes place. Before moving to the new classroom, it might be helpful for the parent to take the child for a short visit to the new classroom.  The current teacher can also help by going with the child to the new classroom to meet the new teacher and visit for 10 – 15 minutes several times (staying with the child) before the actual transition takes place.  Experiencing a smooth transition from one classroom to another can help children begin to understand the notion of saying good-bye—a life skill they will take with them as they grow.

General –

Infants and Toddlers –

From Preschool to Kindergarten –

How can I get my child to talk about what he/she did at school today?

Usually when you ask your child a generic question like “What did you do today at school?” You will get a generic answer like “I played.” Your child learns through play, but as a parent who missed their child all day want to know more…

Some alternatives to ask your child about their day:


  • What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
  • Tell me something that made you laugh today.
  • Where is the coolest place at the school? Why?
  • Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
  • If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
  • How did you help somebody today?
  • How did somebody help you today?
  • Tell me one thing that you learned today.
  • When were you the happiest today?
  • When were you bored today?
  • Who would you like to play with that you've never played with before?
  • Tell me something good that happened today.
  • What word did your teacher say most today? Why do you think she said that word a lot?
  • What do you think you should do/learn more of at school? Why?
  • What do you think you should do/learn less of at school? Why?
  • Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to? How?
  • What do you like to play with most outside?
  • Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?




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