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Aibu to raise concerns about empty lunchbox stickers?

(45 Posts)
Justonemoremouthful Sat 22-Nov-14 02:17:05

My DS has been proudly showing me these recently, but aibu to object? I have always told him that he should listen to his tummy and doesn't have to eat everything if he is full. He holds these stickers in the same regard as those given for behaviour, which really irks me! Aibu?

treaclesoda Sat 22-Nov-14 02:27:59

YANBU, I don't like the idea of that either, for the same reason that you have mentioned.

AlpacaMyBags Sat 22-Nov-14 02:35:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Solo Sat 22-Nov-14 02:49:52

Me too Alpaca

I would be fuming angry.

blanklook Sat 22-Nov-14 02:51:35

Is it a packed lunch he's getting the stickers for? If so add slightly less every day. He gets the sticker, you know how much his maximum intake is.

Justonemoremouthful Sat 22-Nov-14 03:01:31

blank yes, for a packed lunch. He usually does finish it, but he did anyway. Not sure if school dinners get similar stickers -I presume so.
I don't want him to get a sticker at all, I don't care if he gets one. I give him a decent amount in his lunch box but if he doesn't finish it I always say I don't mind because he was listening to his tummy.

Should I say something to school then?

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Sat 22-Nov-14 03:04:00


Raise the issue with the school. See if dc can be given a good table manners sticker instead, or something similar that will reward positive behaviour without the risk of instilling/reinforcing unwanted attitudes towards food.

I wonder just who thought this was a good idea?

SurfsUp1 Sat 22-Nov-14 03:09:46

Isn't it just so you know they didn't eat nothing and throw it all in the bin?

Bulbasaur Sat 22-Nov-14 03:14:10

Are there children that are typically picky or slow eaters who need to be encouraged? I could see it being a class thing to make it a general reward so as not to single the fussy crowd out.

I would ask the school why they're doing it. They might have a legit reason. Or they might not. But at least find out what's going on, and take it from there.

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Sat 22-Nov-14 03:14:27

blanklook I don't understand what your strategy would achieve. The stickers encourage children to overeat, to finish their lunchbox for a sticker, rather than eat to their needs. Some days a child might be more hungry than others so it would be an impossible job to guess exactly how little to include for the parent making the pack-up in the morning. Whereas, if you know your child eats to genuine need, the parent can pack with wriggle room for differing hunger requirements, comfortable in the knowledge that any surplus food will come back in the lunchbox rather than be stuffed into a tummy in order to get a sticker- a practice which would soon lead to loosing the natural knack of stopping eating when full, and training the child to overeat rather than respond to hunger cues.

If you respond to the stickers by packing less food, some days the child may still be hungry after eating their lunchbox, but then be rewarded for eating a set amount that was too little.

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Sat 22-Nov-14 03:17:18

I am still struggling with an eating disorder nurtured since my teens so, may well be looking at this from a different angle to others though, I must admit.

Justonemoremouthful Sat 22-Nov-14 03:29:22

My friend whose son never finishes his packed lunch, had no idea they were giving these stickers, because obviously it has no effect on her son.
surfsup they send uneaten lunch back home with them so I can see what he's eaten.
decaff I agree it should be a reward for good manners or something instead.

LithaR Sat 22-Nov-14 06:52:37


Not every child has the ability to recognise stomach cues. My ds has asd and will struggle to eat since he doesn't like some textures. Stickers encourage him and he would be isolated if it was just him getting the sticker.

Stop leaving it to the school to talk about stomach cues and teach your children at home about such things. One meal out of their whole day wont mess with their metabolism, but may help children who struggle with basic cues feel less isolated.

BoomBoomsCousin Sat 22-Nov-14 07:04:14

Lithr she is teaching him at home, she's already said that. The point is that her good work at home is being undermined by a system that doesn't differentiate and encourages all children to do something that isn't good for all children.

Singsongmama Sat 22-Nov-14 07:31:52

I've seen children in the lunch hall - some, younger boys especially, just pick at their food and stay at the table for less than 5 minutes before rushing to get outside. Some children rush to avoid being separated from their friends so will leave before they've finished. So I can see where the school are coming from BUT...

I agree that a "one size fits all" approach doesn't work though and maybe the stickers could be more targeted for pupils who don't eat their lunches.

I'd phone and ask that your child opt out. Simple. It shouldn't be a problem. Even in a big school staff should be aware of particular children who do/don't require attention or encouragement at lunchtime.

(A good school should insist that all rubbish/scraps/uneaten food stay in the pack lunch box to allow parents a chance to see what they've eaten/change amount/talk to their child about eating)

FishWithABicycle Sat 22-Nov-14 07:34:17

Have you asked if your DS can be opted out of the system?
As a pp said, some children do need this encouragement. Not because of low appetite but because they are distracted by the noisy school dining room. So, they eat 2 bites,if that. Then in the afternoon they are badly behaved and don't learn properly due to lack of nutritious lunch. These children will hugely benefit from a sticker system.

DownByTheRiverside Sat 22-Nov-14 07:40:09

I agree, the school is thinking about what will benefit the majority of the children rather than a parent who is focused on the one.
Not eating your lunch is a problem for many children throughout primary, and it impacts on their behaviour and concentration in the afternoon.
Give him a reasonable-sized lunch, don't overfill the box. You know what is a sensible amount for him.

TheColdDoesBotherMeAnyway Sat 22-Nov-14 07:41:56

Sorry, I can see where you are coming from but I wish dd1's school would implement this - she's a really good eater at home but at school she hardly eats at all. Not because she's full - but because she's not interested in eating, she's too busy talking and itching to get outside and play. I'm sick of throwing 3/4 of her sandwich away and sending the same banana or apple back and forth all week. I've tried talking to her, talking to her teachers, at the moment the only thing that sometimes works is 'bribing' her with the promise of school dinner on a Friday if she eats well through the week (Friday being fish and chips day grin). Anything that gets her to actually eat isn't a bad thing in my opinion!

EverythingsRunningAway Sat 22-Nov-14 07:50:32

I don't know.

I get an almost full lunchbox home every day.

My kid is eating almost nothing all day at school and I'm a bit worried about it.

I would welcome more of a focus on encouraging the children to actually eat at lunchtime rather than letting them "run out of time".

I agree with you though on not clearing plates, or an emphasis on "finishing" meals.

But with a packed lunch for a primary school child, I think the packer has a fair idea of appetite.

claraschu Sat 22-Nov-14 07:55:47

I think that you have to start early telling your kids that not everything schools and teachers do is right. I know i am in the minority here, but I always acknowledged that some things coming out of schools are silly or unimportant.

This attitude is a big help when your child gets a misguided lunch sticker, homework corrected wrong, the wrong reading level, no praise when he has worked hard, stupid homework, an unjust telling-off, etc.

I also don't get overly excited about good test scores, being on the rugby A team, etc. The really exciting thing is seeing your child thrilled with something he is learning, exhilarated by a sporting event, trying something new, playing joyfully with friends.

DownByTheRiverside Sat 22-Nov-14 07:59:13

'trying something new, playing joyfully with friends.'

Try getting a child to do that in the afternoon with an empty stomach. Irritable and unsociable and unenthusiastic.

claraschu Sat 22-Nov-14 08:07:10

DownByTheRiverside, that was not my point. For your child the stickers might be a great idea, and that is fine. I am talking in a general way about how I dealt with all the little things that schools got wrong over the years for my three teenagers.

I think people get too worked up about fairly small things in school which don't work for THEIR child. If you have the approach, from the beginning, that school is not always right, I think it helps. When appropriate you can just shrug off an inappropriate sticker, and your child will not take it seriously.

FishWithABicycle Sat 22-Nov-14 08:13:21

I think you've missed the point of clara's post downbythe
Clara was advising the op to deal with the inappropriate stickers by downplaying their importance for her ds who eats well so that the children who don't can still benefit. It's a good point.
Op you could also encourage your ds to understand that some of his classmates struggle to concentrate on their lunch and he could help them by noticing when they aren't eating and making sure he's not being a source of distraction himself.

DownByTheRiverside Sat 22-Nov-14 08:14:10

'I think people get too worked up about fairly small things in school which don't work for THEIR child. '

I think we agree on that point. My DS took a packed lunch with the same ingredients every day from 6-13 years old. Fortunately no one bothered or noticed. It was a healthy, balanced lunchbox. However Groundhog Day it might have seemed. smile

DownByTheRiverside Sat 22-Nov-14 08:15:34

'I think you've missed the point of clara's post downbythe'


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