To ask the school not to insist my child eats all of her lunch?

(50 Posts)
ZZorro Sun 15-Jun-14 11:58:15

I really want to ask the school to not ask my dd to eat all of her lunch once she has decided she has eaten enough, I feel she can judge herself when she has eaten enough, there are lots of issues surrounding why we shouldn't eat once we're full, I'm just not sure about how the school will view this. AIBU to be reluctant about writing to the school with my views. i think it's about time schools realised it creates obesity in adulthood

fledermaus Sun 15-Jun-14 12:00:13

Is she being hassled about eating all her lunch now?

If so, YANBU - does she have a dinner lady for her class?

Littlefish Sun 15-Jun-14 12:01:03

Just put less in her lunchbox.

For every parent who is happy for their child to judge how much they want to eat, there will be a parent who wants their child to eat what's in their lunchbox. It is impossible for staff to remember the exact requirements of each set of parents.

spanieleyes Sun 15-Jun-14 12:01:30

Don't give her too much then!

Schools can't win. Either parents complain that their child is coming home with half the contents of the lunchbox uneaten and can we please ensure they ensure they eat up, or can we not ask children to finish the lunch the parent has given them!! If a parent gives a child a full lunchbox, we assume they intend it to be eaten!

fledermaus Sun 15-Jun-14 12:03:55

How are you supposed to guess exactly how hungry a child is going to be in several hours time?

dietcokeandcadburys Sun 15-Jun-14 12:05:27

If she takes a lunchbox then just pack as much as you know she will eat. If school dinners then YANBU to ask them to stop putting pressure on to eat everything

JodieGarberJacob Sun 15-Jun-14 12:07:08

And how are they supposed to know the difference between 'I've had enough' (true) and 'I've had enough' (I want to get outside and play and can't be arsed to sit here any more)? grin

fledermaus Sun 15-Jun-14 12:09:05

I always pack enough for my DC on a hungry day, but he often chooses to eat less. If the school hassled him I'd put a note on his lunch box saying "please let him eat as much/little as he wants".

fledermaus Sun 15-Jun-14 12:09:39

Does the difference matter Jodie?

isitsnowingyet Sun 15-Jun-14 12:13:22

Zzorro I am with you completely on this one. My DD has a variable appetite at the best of times and it isn't easy to predict how much she will eat. I also think that forcing someone to eat when they are not hungry is a good way to give them hang ups about food.

ZZorro Sun 15-Jun-14 12:16:59

yes fleder how can you guess how hungry the child will be? I did PL and put in an amount I thought would be ok, but she is switching to school lunches (her choice) and there is a policy of cajoling/ nagging insisting whatever you want to call it and this can be good or bad depending on the character/views of the LTA, it's a very small school (under 40) so I'm sure they can manage to remember my views thats not a problem here it's the switch over to school meals that is prompting my feeling the need to write in, i'm just not sure how it will be received.

clam Sun 15-Jun-14 12:18:18

Our dinner ladies don't insist children finish what's on their plate, or even suggest they just try a little more. The result is that loads of children take trays that are pretty much full of food, over to the waste. Not only are those parents blithely assuming their child has eaten a hot meal at lunchtime (and maybe only therefore giving something relatively light for tea), but they are also paying out for something their children are not eating.

Branleuse Sun 15-Jun-14 12:19:03

give her less

Iseenyou Sun 15-Jun-14 12:24:10

I dont think i would switch to school lunch if thats the policy and they wont waive it in your case - agree with posters who think there are lots of reasons not to do it. Knowing to stop eating when you're no longer hungry is a great gift! And one that adults are recommended to cultivate - why are children different?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 15-Jun-14 12:27:20

My child rarely eats a sizeable lunch. She has a massive breakfast (cant fill her! ) and a big tea. Id hate to think she was being cajoled into eating a full meal if she didnt want it.

Clam its irrelevant - id pay for a school meal so that dd has the plate of food avaliable for her to eat all/some/none depending on her hunger that day. Whether its binned or not doesnt matter to me - its paid for and she will eat what she wants of it.

whereisshe Sun 15-Jun-14 12:32:52

I completely agree with you, OP. Insisting that a meal gets finished is a pathway to overeating. I also have a problem with puddings being (unnecessarily) served with school lunch but that's another thread!

Nocomet Sun 15-Jun-14 12:35:13

This is impossible for schools to get right.
DD1 massively resented being expected to eat school mash which was yuck.

DD2 would try to leave her lunch just because she fuss eatting boring and wants to play.

It's incredibly difficult for schools to decide when DCs are full or genuinely don't like something or when they simply want to rush off.

Frontier Sun 15-Jun-14 12:40:37

I'm not at all convinced learning to finish your (healthy well balanced) meal does lead to obesity in adulthood.

IME people who eat proper regular meals are far less likely to be obese than picky eaters who often tell you they have small appetites but then snack a lot. Snacks (usually) tend to be far less nutritious and higher in fat and sugar than a meal - that's what leads to obesity IMO.

And wasting food is horrid, it just is.

SatansFurryJamHats Sun 15-Jun-14 12:43:35

Yanbu. Some LSAs at our school need reminding periodically of the need to avoid making children clear their plates. God knows why they persist in 'forgetting' - it's a control thing imo.
We monitor what a child is eating and concerns passed to parents via the teacher. No one should ever insist a plate is cleared as it doesn't teach children that they stop when full or allow them to decide what they do and don't like.

exexpat Sun 15-Jun-14 12:46:23

I was forced to eat all my lunch when I was at school, which has meant that as an adult I feel sick at the sight of rice pudding, custard etc, and was also a major contributory factor in my turning vegetarian as a teenager.

If it's a packed lunch, at least you have some control over portion sizes, but school lunches are often doled out with no regard to individual children's appetites or things they really, really hate, so forcing them to eat everything is counterproductive and can turn into a battle of wills. When I was kept behind after everyone else had finished so that I would eat the rice pudding/semolina that made me feel sick, I used to spoon it into the hems of the curtains in the school dining room...

clam Sun 15-Jun-14 13:07:06

The majority of schools offer choice in what is available to children, and parents get the menu at home so they can help them make those choices in advance. Therefore children should not be in the position of being "forced" to eat things they really hate, as there will always be at least one other option, if not more.

clam Sun 15-Jun-14 13:08:06

ThinkIveBeenHacked It might be irrelevant to you, but I bet it's not to a fair few other parents.

fledermaus Sun 15-Jun-14 13:12:59

Sometimes DS eats like a horse, sometimes he seems to live on fresh air, but he knows if he doesn't eat then there isn't more food til the next meal.

I don't want to make food a battleground or mealtimes something he dreads. He's active and a healthy weight, he doesn't need to be cajoled/persuaded/forced to eat.

lljkk Sun 15-Jun-14 13:15:48

I worked as DL/MSA. Our job was definitely to encourage a fair amount to be eaten, but everything was adjusted by size of meal/child/time they had spent giving it a try. They had to ask before they could start pudding & understood that they had to give the main course a decent effort before pudding. If a child was truly off their food we thought they were ill or maybe talking too much. We had to have a general trend of encouraging eating for everyone, plenty of them would just talk the time away instead only to be ravenous 20 minutes after lunch finished. I don't think any of that is unreasonable.

The variation in what they actually ate was H U G E.
The only child we ever made eat everything was one where the parent insisted that he must eat it all (when packed lunch) before allowed out to play. We were way too busy to enforce that kind of rule with anyone else.

I know it's mean of me, but mom of must-eat-child was/is rather overweight.

RufusTheReindeer Sun 15-Jun-14 13:21:54

Our lunches run in a similar manner to llijkks

We encourage them to try food, if it's something quite bland ie potato waffles I would get them to eat at least one of the 3/4. Not mash, I understand that can be a bit of a weird texture

They have to ask before pudding and to leave the table

Our school has 180 and if asked by a parent to check on what the child is eating we do so for at least a few days.

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