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To do what on earth I LIKE with DS's packed lunches? Bloody nursery. Ranty rant alert

(49 Posts)
LittleOneMum Wed 19-Oct-11 11:05:03

DS is 4. He goes to nursery and has lunch there, 4 days a week. He only started in September. He's not a big eater really, so on the first day, I put in a selection of things for him, thinking that that way he would at least something. All quite healthy: a sandwich, fruit, raisins, some pretzels, a drink and a cereal bar.
So, at the end of the first day a note comes back saying "No cereal bars, some children are allergic to seeds and nuts". Fine, I said, so I don't give him anything with seeds or nuts at all.
then a list came round of all the things that were banned: not just seeds and nuts but anything with chickpeas, dairylea (?), crisps, sweets.
Fair enough I said, and I don't send any of those things.

But yesterday I was taken aside by the teacher and told (in a very "serious" tone) that I was putting FAR TOO MUCH in DS's lunchbox, and that this is VERY serious because they have a policy that the kids must eat everything and throw nothing away. "You are making your son feel very stressed" she said, because he can't eat it all.

I wish someone had told me about this damn policy, and I might understand. But they didn't and frankly even if they had, I am getting really rather tired of the dictats. can't I give him a (small, healthy) selection. They never do throw it away, it comes back in the lunchbox and we have a chat about whether he would like something different. Most days he does eat it all.

Oh I know this is trivial but AIBU to be annoyed that (a) they didn't tell me in advance what the aim was (b) they made me feel like a crap 'feeder' mother and (c) that offering a small selection which doesn't always get eaten isn't awful in any event?

(flame proof hat and big fireman's hose at the ready).

silverfrog Wed 19-Oct-11 11:08:39

surely their policy is a load of rot?

understand the not throwing anythign away bit - so that you can see how much (and what!) has been eaten.

but to try ot make the children eat everythign? that is bonkers.

FWIW, I would do as you do - send a selection of things, not stress about how much or what gets eaten, and assume that if uneaten maybe he wasn't hungry? (given that you are putting in things he likes)

dexter73 Wed 19-Oct-11 11:09:39

YANBU - it is up to you how much goes in his lunchbox. If he can't eat it all he should leave it and it comes back in the box.

TheScaryJessie Wed 19-Oct-11 11:10:24

I think a eat-everything-on-your-plate policy is absolutely bollocks.

squeakyfreakytoy Wed 19-Oct-11 11:11:14

I would reply to her "No, it is YOU that is making my son feel very stressed".

These lunchbox threads make me so glad I do not have a school age child any more.

Where on earth have all these intolerances and allergies sprung from in recent years?

Who has given teachers the right to be such dictators over how and what a child is fed.

Fair enough, if a child looks undernourished, or is obese, there may be a need for someone to step in and intervene, but otherwise why can they not just get on with doing the job they are actuall paid to do.

I really doubt that in their job description is "check all lunchboxes for contraband on a daily basis"

ionysis Wed 19-Oct-11 11:11:47

YANBU but the nursery are, very much so.Telling a child they HAVE to eat everything on their plate / in lunch box is totally wrong and can actually lead to eating issues through childhood and even eating disorders as adults.

One of the big reasons we have such a problem with obesity is people not being able to listen to their own bodies signals that they are full because they have been conditioned to thinking they HAVE to eat everything in front of them, hungry or not. Foring kids to clean their plate destroys the body's ability to gauge when you are sufficently sated.

I think you should be making a big deal out of this ridiculous policy before they damage a load of kids who end up suffering from anorexia, bullemia or obesity.

theyoungvisiter Wed 19-Oct-11 11:12:19

Well I think you are being a bit unreasonable to be cross about the notes over chickpeas and stuff. Presumably they can't help it if kids in the class have an allergy and they may not necessarily know this from the off if the parents have forgotten to inform them. I also think that giving advice about quantity is probably sensible - some parents over cater madly and it does seem a bit stupid since it just gets thrown away.


they have a policy that the kids must eat everything and throw nothing away.

THIS sounds utterly barking and a recipe for eating disorders and distress. Plus totally uninforceable. Is this a local authority nursery? I was told by my DS1's school that they are not ALLOWED to insist that children eat anything - it's completely up to the child.

I would query this policy and say that you are NOT happy with your child being forced to eat if he doesn't want to. How are you supposed to know if your child is having a hungry day or not? Ridiculous.

Georgimama Wed 19-Oct-11 11:12:41

As a child I was made to eat everything on my plate. I think it is one of the reasons I have such poor self discipline about food and am now overweight. YANBU.

AKMD Wed 19-Oct-11 11:12:55

YANBU. They should have made you aware of the full policy when the first issue cropped up, not drip-fed like this. Ideally they would have made you aware of it before he started hmm

As on the other AIBU, policies of force-feeding children aren't fantastic for many reasons and I would go beserk if my nursery-aged DS was made to 'clear his plate'. He would probably just throw it on the floor anyway though TBH. How do you force-feed a toddler?! confused

At DS's nursery it was firmly explained to me when I said I would be sending in his meals that there was to be no meat, fish, egg, pasta or rice. That has bena a bit of a challange for my sandwich-hating DS. The mind boggles at the culinary gymnastics of your nursery's restrictions!

LittleOneMum Wed 19-Oct-11 11:12:56

Oh I am delighted that you haven't flamed me (so far). There is a parents' morning on Friday and I am going to bring it up - I was too scared yesterday and today I sent him in with a smaller selection of things, and now I feel bad that he might be hungry sad instead of "stressed at having to finish".

theyoungvisiter Wed 19-Oct-11 11:13:40

oh though the "throwing nothing away" is normal by the way. Most schools send home all the leftovers in the lunch box precisely so that you can SEE if you are overcatering or not. It's a right pain having to fish out sandwich crusts from half eaten yoghurt but the policy is sensible.

banana87 Wed 19-Oct-11 11:13:48

Seriously? They have to clean their plates at the age of 4? What complete nonsense! At 4, they are mostly so excited about the play they get to have after lunch that they aren't fussed about lunch!

It screams 'creating eating disorders' to me, by instilling in them at such a young age that They Must Clean Their Plates. This would concern me more than anything else as its completely the wrong message.

TheScaryJessie Wed 19-Oct-11 11:14:55

"You are making your son feel very stressed" she said, because he can't eat it all.

What drugs is she on? It's her nursery's policy that's obviously causing the problem!

LittleOneMum Wed 19-Oct-11 11:15:25

and when I asked him about this issue last night he said "There is always too much in my lunchbox and I can't finish it" with a really sad face. sad

MrBloomsNursery Wed 19-Oct-11 11:17:38

That's a very stupid policy. Even after nearly 4 years, I still don't know as a mother to my own DD how much food she eats in a day, because her daily intake will vary from day to day. Children can be very unpredictable. I think you are doing the right thing providing a range of food so your DS can eat what he feels like and can leave the rest.

Your nursery needs to watch that NHS video about the plastacine child being over-fed by his parents, and all that cholesterol build up. He's made to eat everything on his plate too.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 11:17:39

It's incredibly disorganized that they didn't tell you about the nuts/seeds first, before you had a chance to send anything in! If I were teh parent of a child with nuts allegies I'd be livid about that, wouldn't you?!

I agree about the other stuff too, but that jumped out at me, knowing how serious nut allergies can be.

NormanTebbit Wed 19-Oct-11 11:17:49

Why on earth are they making children eat everything in their lunchbox? They are little human beings who should be allowed to choose how much food they want to eat at a meal.

Unless you want mealtime battles, it's important children are allowed to eat until they feel full and not feelobliged to 'clear their plates'

I wo7ld have words

LittleOneMum Wed 19-Oct-11 11:17:56

theyoungvisitor exactly. I have learnt from what he eats and doesn't. I used to give him a plain biscuit but he never ate it, so I dropped it. I now used thinly sliced bread etc.

and to those who say that I am being unreasonable to complain about the other policies, I am complaining about those. I don't send food with seeds and nuts and completely understand. I am annoyed about having a policy which they never told me about, and making my son feel stressed at having to finish everything (how am I meant to know from one day to the next how hungry he is going to be!).

GuillotinedMaryLacey Wed 19-Oct-11 11:18:39

Where is the OP cross about the allergy issues? confused

I'm dreading this. DD starts school in September and I'm undecided between expensive, questionable school meals and the dictatorship that is packed lunches.

LittleOneMum Wed 19-Oct-11 11:18:54

I am NOT complaining about those, I meant!

theyoungvisiter Wed 19-Oct-11 11:19:41

I would definitely raise this with them.

But don't muddy the waters with the stuff about allergies/cereal bars etc - this is reasonable safeguarding and it's perfectly possible they DO have a policy somewhere in all the paperwork and it just got missed somehow.

The problem is the issue of children being forced to finish food and made to feel guilty if they can't - this is not acceptable (and not normal either - I've had two children at several schools and nurseries and this was absolutely NOT the policy at any of them).

BeyondLimitsOfTheLivingDead Wed 19-Oct-11 11:20:04

This is the third lunch (fourth if the Jam Sandwich one is included) thread recently (not a complaint OP, just an observation) along similar lines. It confirms for me that I am picking up my DCs for lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY when they start school.
No way am I dealing with this shit grin


theyoungvisiter Wed 19-Oct-11 11:21:41

oh sorry - crossed with yours saying you would not be complaining about those.

Good call.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 19-Oct-11 11:22:00

You are totally NBU. If there are - and there always are now - policies about what can go into a lunchbox then they should give out that information in a leaflet so you can refer back to it if necessary. And the 'you must eat all your food' as automatic policy is awful. It's totally against common sense and all the anti-obesity stuff that schools are pushing nowadays to force a child to eat.

limitedperiodonly Wed 19-Oct-11 11:22:24

There's another thread about eating everything on your plate at school. Everyone there agrees it's a mad policy too.

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