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Eating Lunch at Nursery

(22 Posts)
coffeedog Thu 15-Nov-12 15:51:32

My twins go to nursery all day so they stay for lunch (no packed lunch allowed).

They use to go park time before they were full time and i made the staff aware that one of my twins dosn't eat some foods - he dosn't eat pasta, or potatos, or anything in/with sauce.

This could be in part as he had major brain/skull surgery which affected his swallowing - or simpley that he just dasnt 'like' thease foods.

The dietition we saw at the hospital said that his diet was fine he eats any/all fruit he can get his hands on as well as meat/fish sasauge bread yoghat and milk.

Back to my point ... DS is getting very upset at lunch time as they keep trying to get his to eat his lunch - food he does not like and if he dosnt eat his lunch he dosnt get the pudding.

At home he get what we do and if he dosnt eat it ... he dosnt eat it as long as he sits nicley and joins in the conversation with us he gets pudding.

The other twin eats anything ... i think that they are stricter with DS as his brother will happily tuck in and the staff have started pulling me aside to talk about the problem he is causing at lunch time - he screams and shouts he dosnt like the food as they keep trying to get him to eat it (if they left him alone he would be fine... he wouldnt eat but he would stay at the table.

I have said i am happy for him not to have lunch (he usually has porridge for breakfast and they have fruit snack time, and i collect him 2 hours after lunch - but staff are insisting he sits with the other children in his group. ! pay £2 a day for his lunch and he maybe will eat the 2 days out of 5.

AIBU to insist he dosnt have to sit down for lunch - he could happily go in another room. They are pushing for me to go in at lunchtimes to 'sit' with him - this will make no difference if he likes the food he will eat it if not he won't. I wouldnt keep telling him to try lunch or lick it kiss it etc....


amazingmumof6 Thu 15-Nov-12 21:36:06

You can call Ofsted and complain, they are shitheads to force your son at the age of 2-4 years old (presumably). if you handle him the way you do they should go with what you want and what's best for him.

do they know about he surgery and it's effects?

why on earth do they refuse packed lunch? what if he had an allergy?

seems they are not flexible at all, and I'd be livid!
he's not in prison FFS!
but being livid doesn't help, so ask them why they wouldn't treat your child according to his individual needs - which is probably something they proudly boast about in their "mission statement"!

they have to get down to Earth and realize that they are employed by you and within reason they should be doing what's best for you and your child.

I guess you could take him/them outof this place if you could so I won't suggest this, but I'd certainly start looking around for some other solution - if they won't budge, I'd leave and keep protecting his interest as you do wonderfully!
Seriously, you have the right to report them to Ofsted, and raise hell. that's what I'd do if they are stubborn and ignorant.

CaliforniaLeaving Thu 15-Nov-12 21:49:21

I don't get why they are being so insistent with him.
None of my three would eat anything with a sauce on (including gravy) and Dd won't eat potatoes either. We are lucky that packed lunches were allowed in daycare and now Dd is in school.
Oldest would go without lunch every day at school even though I had told them no gravy as they drenched his lunch every day. Finally I gave up and started doing a packed lunch. He loved all the food the school cooked, just no sauces at all.
I agree he's not in bloody prison why are they treating him this way it's punishment for not eating things that have been told he will not eat.
I'd be tempted to look elsewhere if they won't resolve this.

Foxy800 Thu 15-Nov-12 21:55:06

I work in a nursery and we would never refuse a child pudding. We would encourage thme to eat and if it is a big thing work a plan out with the parents. We would never force them to eat it!!!!

maddening Thu 15-Nov-12 21:57:37

Could you go along the lines of requesting a special diet for him - either they provide a meal he will eat or allow you to provide one for him as it is a special circumstance ? They can't leave a child with no food all day! It can't be good for his development.

SantasComingFace Thu 15-Nov-12 22:01:37

I wouldn't be happy with this. I know at DS's nursery they have alternatives if a child really doesn't like something, but they use LA school dinner service so don't know if this is easier.

I once sent DS in with quiche during the school holidays (they have to have packed lunches) and he does like it but didn't want it, they made him toast instead. DS is only 2 but no child should be made go go hungry.

I would insist that I sent packed lunch!

Welovecouscous Thu 15-Nov-12 22:21:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amazingmumof6 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:59:47

Welovecouscous you made me remember I was once forced eat some really disgusting green soup when I was 6, the smell of which made me feel sick.
I told the teacher that, but they had a "3 spoonful policy".
So I ate it, crying and gagging, than it all came back showering everyone and everything unfortunate to be close enough in green yuck
Including the teacher. she looked bewildered.
I looked up and said 'I told you it made me feel sick!'
they never forced me again....

poor boy, I really feel for him

pigletpower Thu 15-Nov-12 23:47:31

Yet another thread that reminds me why I never sent any of my kids to nursery.

Cortana Fri 16-Nov-12 00:00:15

Nice if you have the choice Piglet, some people just do as best they can by their children in the circumstances, some are even happy in that situation.

OP, I would put your foot down. I know of no nursery that would cause such distress to a child over food and then leave the child with nothing. If you need to take it higher do it.

I hope other than the difficulty swallowing your DS is fine after his surgery.

coffeedog Mon 19-Nov-12 14:34:53

I was dragged to the side again at collection time today by HT and told (in front of all other parents) that DS didnt eat his lunch and he was spitting at the table and screaming. Lunch for the children today was some kind of spicy noodle dish and a big meatball although i use the term meat loosley ;)

They kept trying to get him to eat but eventually he had to be taken away for the table into the teachers office as he was disrupting the other children. He does not eat Pasta and hasn't since he was able to hold a fork and dosn't eat any sauce (except ketchup).

One of the staff has an idea which they will discuss today and let me know tomorrow. I just dont want him labeled as a naughty boy as he really isn't he is just specfic about what he eats... his twin obviousley ate his lunch today but he is just a human dustbin.

I have an appointment with his neuro surgeon in feb should i wait to see if there is still a problem with his swallowing ability or try to get hold of the health visitor to see if she has any ideas can refer him (although the dietrition at the hospital said his diet was fine... it just seems that they dont include things he likes in the school meals they provide. (school meals come from the local school across the road not made on site.

coffeedog Mon 19-Nov-12 14:36:59

pigletpower - I cant fault the nursery other than the lunch time issue It is a fantastic place where he can learn and play -and most of the staff there are really understand the children.

eragon Mon 19-Nov-12 15:35:29

if he doenst eat pasta, or potatos, is that rice every day?

and not liking 'wet' foods? but will eat wet ketchup?

thats a lot of food. most small kids meals are of the wet varity, e.g sheperds pie, spag bol, roast dinners, sponge and custard etc.

when you look at the menu what meals do you think he would eat?

if none, you really have to either PUSH for packed lunch,or

pick him up early so that he wont go so long without food.

or have meeting with head of setting to go over how you would like them to encourage him to widen his food choice, and eat what he wants to eat on his plate at lunch time. get a combo of acceptable and new food to try.

Kids need lot of exposure to the same food repeatedly before they try it. Be bold about what how you feel the staff have handled things so far, they wont change or realise that such respect is lacking if you dont highlight it (its not impressive really head of setting needs to hear this imo)

Unless this is a food allergy/intolerence/ religious reason providing a seperate meal for your child isnt going to be something they will suggest.

I would go for a roast dinner with no gravy, and hope that on that plate he would be able to eat most of the food on that plate while rejecting the potatos.
Then you can provide a carb snack later.

is he on any medication? as that can influence the way food tastes, can you ask your doc about that?

lisad123 Mon 19-Nov-12 15:39:50

Dd1 was the same, refused to eat hot food at lunch time. It took 6 years to break and even now she isn't keen. She has SN that we didn't know at the time but her nursery let us send her with packed lunch.
I would refuse to pay for lunch and send with a packed lunch.

Emsmaman Mon 19-Nov-12 15:50:22

That seems really harsh. My DD took a long time to get used to eating in the nursery environment and eating the foods they prepared but they worked with me on it. I can understand not being able to bring in outside food because of allergies etc. but DD was offered toast and fruit, and as a last result milk, if she didn't want what was being served. It's not like it really costs them anything significant since they have those foods on site anyway and doesn't require "real" cooking! FWIW at one point we discussed giving DD "deconstructed" meals as she was more used to having finger foods at home. Could you ask for something similar i.e. all the elements of the food but without the sauce/bits that your DS doesn't like.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 19-Nov-12 15:54:58

When DD was at nursery there were two children who had similar special dietary requirements. On a day when it was a meal the children would eat nursery would make extra and freeze portions to bring out on days that it was something they could/wouldn't have.

EllieorOllie Mon 19-Nov-12 16:15:50

eragon I disagree, I have taught a child with significant food dislikes rather than dietary or religious needs and although we encouraged him to try new foods he was always provided with a basic school meal that he was prepared to eat. The school believed that it was most important that he did not go hungry and had sufficient energy to take part in activities.

Another school I worked in had an attached nursery where school meals were compulsory. The children were offered bread to fill up on after their main meal and were allowed pudding regardless of whether they had eaten their main.

littleducks Mon 19-Nov-12 16:26:02

I would request a referral from go to a speech and language therapist to assess his swallow. More for your own info than nursery though.

Then go into nursery and have it in writing to that your son has a specific diet. At this point his swallow is under investigation and it has not been established that he can safely eat these foods. The dietitian advised not forcing him to try anything to avoid longer term rejection and his diet is adequate and balanced.

Over to provide packed lunches in future if they cannot provide suitable food.

littleducks Mon 19-Nov-12 16:26:35

Sorry referral from gp (stupid phone)

Shelby2010 Mon 19-Nov-12 16:44:37

I think you should take them up on their offer to sit in on a couple of lunchtimes. Then you can deconstruct the meals for the parts that he will eat or suggest alternatives. Also, if you are 'taking charge' & stopping them hassling him it will hopefully demonstrate that he can behave nicely at meal times. Hopefully they will then take on board what you have been trying to say.

I would also reiterate that his issues to do with food are to do with his previous surgery. Even if you are not sure, it is not unreasonable that this possible, either his sense of taste, swallowing ability or just the time he spent in hospital. Either way it may help to encourage them to take a more sympathetic approach.

leftalonehere Mon 19-Nov-12 18:56:21

Just a quickie but nurserys/childcare's are not legally allowed to withhold food from the children unless they have written permission from the childs guardians.
They can offer an alternative such as fruit instead of cake but cannot withold it entirely

pingu2209 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:32:54

Okay - I will go against the flow of comments here, but I totally can see the nursery's point.

Firstly, a child can not be left alone in a side room or other. For your son to sit separetly there needs to be another 1 or 2 adults with him. This affects their ratios and may need more staff over lunch periods when other staff are likely to be on their break.

Additionally, it is a proven fact that children with issues with food are likely to eat more and better if they eat together. Eating is a sociable interaction and one that is not best done away from others when everyone else is eating together.

Secondly, all that you have mentioned about his not liking solid food and all the other food stuffs, may have nothing whatsoever to do with his head surgery. You have assumed something with no medical proof.

Thirdly, from what you have described your child's eating habits are quite difficult to cater for in a school/institution establishment, and whilst religious or vegetarian needs need to be catered for, your son's needs are 'faddy'.

Lastly, and I say this point having had 3 children and gone through your son's age 3 times, the food fads you are talking about could very easily become more extreme and before you know it you will have a 5 or 6+ year old who eats very little. It will be white bread only with no crusts, only a certain cheese and it will have to be grated and not sliced or only a specific brand of sausage etc. It can get out of hand really really quickly and the nursery will know that - which is why the first point matters.

If you are wrong (and you may well be) about his eating issues being due to his head injury, it may be a form of control over you and his environment. Most issues children have with food if they are really fussy, which by the way your son is being really fussy, are to do with having control and giving them power over a situation.

If you son has been in and out of hospital and had a lot of attention (although it was 'bad' attention because he was ill). Managing his food intake will give him greater attention.

Until you have the medical proof (and I will take all that I have said back if that becomes the case), the nursery may well be doing you a favour and helping you in the long run. You could be shooting yourself in the foot by not working with them on this.

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