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To feel uncomfortable about school giving stickers for finishing dinner?

(50 Posts)
chaosisawayoflife Mon 22-Oct-12 20:23:47

Dd has only just started reception so I'm new to all this, but she often comes home with 'clean plate award' stickers, and I'm a bit unsure about how I feel about this. I have always avoided forcing my children to clear their plates, or doing the whole 'if you finish your dinner you can have pudding' thing. I believe children can regulate their own appetites and will eat what they want/ need. However, I am also very lucky to have two dds who eat well and aren't fussy.
Stickers are an enormous incentive to most children and I feel a bit uncomfortable about putting this pressure on them to finish their meals, especially with all the worries about childhood obesity etc.
AIBU?

HoratiaWinwood Mon 22-Oct-12 20:25:22

Ooh I agree that is the wrong message. "Eat until you are full" is better than "Eat until you have cleared a plate which was loaded for you by a grownup who doesn't know you very well".

squeakytoy Mon 22-Oct-12 20:26:04

< rolls eyes >

Why not just be happy that your kids are eating their food, not wasting it.

Kids who get lots of regular exercise will not become obese from eating their school dinner.

eurowitch Mon 22-Oct-12 20:27:32

I agree, OP. It's the wrong message.

GhostShip Mon 22-Oct-12 20:27:37

I don't think theres anything wrong with it, I do think people overthink things.

Onlyaphase Mon 22-Oct-12 20:28:31

I had the same experience last year when DD was in reception, and spent the entire year disliking the whole sticker for a clean plate thing. Luckily DD ate what she wanted irrespective of the sticker on offer, and in Y1 the stickers stopped. No parent liked it, but it didn't seem to affect how much the children ate at lunchtime

Can you start by having a word with the teacher - it is unlikely to be their idea, so it may be that you take it to the head afterwards.

chaosisawayoflife Mon 22-Oct-12 20:28:32

Ooh, 50:50 so far!

Quadrangle Mon 22-Oct-12 20:28:44

YANBU. I agree it should be eat until you are full.

kinkyfuckery Mon 22-Oct-12 20:28:49

Have you seen school dinners? If you're feeding your child well at other times, you shouldn't worry about school dinners making them obese.

littleducks Mon 22-Oct-12 20:28:52

DS gets these, he just started reception. DD never had them (and always eats her meals). He takes packed lunches so I think it is unnecessary.

I was a bit hmm but there seem to be children in his class who barely eat or eat just the crisps. So I figured he wasn't the target and just ignore them, I make a huge fuss when he gets stickers for good behaviour so I'm sure he will eventually pick up on that.

Pumpster Mon 22-Oct-12 20:29:18

As the mother of an obese child, yes I think it gives the wrong message.

Dahlen Mon 22-Oct-12 20:30:28

YANBU. This weird obsession with clearing the plate is stupid. How is a child supposed to learn how to regulate their food intake to a level that suits them if they're forced encouraged to eat everything regardless of whether they're full or not. We'll end up with super-sized portions of everything. And people wonder why we're having an obesity epidemic.

GhostShip Mon 22-Oct-12 20:32:25

As the mother of an obese child, yes I think it gives the wrong message

But surely if the portion sizes are correct, it wouldn't be an issue?

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Mon 22-Oct-12 20:34:24

You have to remember though that getting children to stay sitting down and eating is an issue for a lot of primary schools as sometimes children just want to go out and play with their friends (the fast eaters who have already finished).

I picked up my daughter for a dentist appoitnment in the middle of assembly the other day and the head was in the middle of a long telling off about this and other dinner-hall related issues ("if you drop something and it's solid pick it up..." grin).

I guess 'clean plate' fits better on a sticker than 'i stayed and ate my lunch even though my friends were already finished'.

Pumpster Mon 22-Oct-12 20:35:14

But if a child is full before their plate is finished, surely getting a sticker for finishing is wrong?

BooCanary Mon 22-Oct-12 20:35:29

My DD comes back from school most days with a sticker for eating all her food. Tbh I think its a good thing. School dinners are quite small portions, and the DCs tend to rush them so they can get out to playtime. The danger is they eat the most popular bit, and leave the veg so they can keep up with their friends. DCs are not going to get fat on these small meals, but clearing the plate means that they have had the intended food groups in the intended quantities to ensure a balanced meal.

My DS often eats NOTHING for his main meal. Until you've had a food refusing skinny-minny, you have no idea of the trauma! If the thought of him getting a sticker makes him eat SOME food, ANY food, then it's great IMO.

HeadlessForHalloween Mon 22-Oct-12 20:37:41

I do agree with eat until you are full, and this is what we say at home, but...

the portions sizes at school are not large, and the children need to eat properly to have the energy and concentration for the afternoon. Younger children tend to get easily distracted and mess about more easily, the dinner staff want to encourage them to eat up and go out to play. So I can see why they dangle this carrot.

Most of their meals are with you, so they will grow up with your message about eating as the norm. Also they aren't forced to eat, just encouraged.

So I will say YABU.

wonderstuff Mon 22-Oct-12 20:39:44

I can see both sides tbh, dd eats well and I encourage eat till full. DS on the other hand picks a bit, gets bored, decides he's full/doesnt like it and there is nothing of him. Drives me nuts. Can't imagine portion sizes are very big.

littlebird3 Mon 22-Oct-12 20:40:30

Don't take it so literary.i'm a midday sup & often give these to kids who have said they don't like something then have had a good try at eating it, not necessarily cleared their plate. Also sometimes they may be the only stickers left or the child has wanted to choose that sticker even though you may be giving it for good manners etc =D

HeadlessForHalloween Mon 22-Oct-12 20:41:07

I do think it's highly unlikely any child would become obese by finishing their small school dinner every day. I also agree that many children scoff the main bit of their dinner, and leave the veg/fruit so they can dash off to play.

alphabite Mon 22-Oct-12 20:41:22

My school started the stickers because so many parents came and complained that their child hadn't finished their packed lunch!

BooCanary Mon 22-Oct-12 20:42:08

Wonderstuff - have we got the same DCs? grin

My DS annoyingly always looks at what is put in front of him and says 'yummy this looks nice', and then proceeds to tell me he's full and doesn't want any hmm.

NatashaBee Mon 22-Oct-12 20:43:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ScaryFakeNails Mon 22-Oct-12 20:44:14

Its a sticker.

Children don't become obese as a result of stickers, they're obese because they eat too much, particularly too much crap and do fuck all.

Although the content of school dinners can be questionable, the portion sizes alone means I don't think finishing it can constitute eating too much crap.

MrsKeithRichards Mon 22-Oct-12 20:45:28

I'd never thought of it like that before. Ds has had a few but he's in the chuck it down my throat as fast as possible to get out and play camp!

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