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WIBU to complain to after school club about the food and screens?

(165 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Fri 26-May-17 20:31:20

When I say 'complain', I'm thinking anonymous polite feedback letter because I'm a coward so as not to make things awkward.

DS1's before and after school club is really very good - lovely staff, great activities, reasonable fees and open good hours. But two things irk DH and me and I want to know if the MN jury think we're BU.

1. They are fed (in our opinion) crazy amounts of unhealthy food. A weekly menu, fed to them at around 4pm, is thus:
- Hot dogs and chips
- Fish fingers on a bun
- Pasta with ham
- Baked beans, sausages and potato waffles
- Chicken nuggets and crisps

They then get given a biscuit upon departure. Salad is offered. I know this because there is an enormous bowl of it, virtually untouched, sitting next to the dregs of the remaining hot food when I arrive.

Their website describes this as a 'substantial snack'. I call this a full meal and DS is so full of processed crap when he gets home, he doesn't want to sit with us for a family dinner, where we serve (in his opinion) disgusting things containing vegetables and the like. They also seem to routinely coordinate the day they serve chips with the school dinner chip day, so DS1 has invariably had double chips in one day. When I was at after school club myself, we got fruit and crackers with some kind of spread, and it was perfectly sufficient to keep us going until a proper dinner at home. I'd rather not give DS a snack and tell him not to eat the after school club food as I don't want him to feel singled out. DS2 will be starting there next year and he puts on weight far more easily than skinny DS1 so I'll be livid if I end up with a letter telling me he's overweight, when it would be because of the crap fed to them at school.

2. They always run a movie on a big screen AND have a PlayStation/X-box on a separate screen. They're currently raising money to buy a second PlayStation. They provide loads of other activities, games, books, not to mention dozens of other children to play with and free access to the school's absolutely beautiful, huge playground. Are DH and I BU to think the screens are absolutely unnecessary with all this? There is always a sizeable crowd of stationary kids around the screens (probably rendered motionless by their 'substantial snack' beforehand) despite all these other options, and even in lovely weather when they should be tearing around outside. I just think it encourages sedentary behaviour and will create fat kids in combination with that food.

I don't know any of the other parents well enough to garner their opinion on these issues so thought I'd don my hard hat and flame-retardant vest for AIBU instead.

<may consider self an idiot later>

TeaBelle Fri 26-May-17 20:34:23

Given that they're clear about what they offer, I think it's consumer choice. If you don't like it, vote with your feet and use another childcare provider

RhiWrites Fri 26-May-17 20:35:13

I think the first is a valid issue. Less certain about the second.

But don't send an anonymous letter, it will be rightly ignored and make you look like a twonk.

FlossyMooToo Fri 26-May-17 20:36:37

So go elswhere.

TheFifthKey Fri 26-May-17 20:37:42

That all sounds pretty unnecessary to me - DS's after school club offers basic sandwiches (ham/ham/cheese spread) and fruit left over from the free foundation stage fruit, although they can bring snacks if they want. They have a selection of toys, Hama beads, drawing and craft stuff and games, but no screens. In this weather they all just tear around outside for the duration. I'm happy with it - it's still more choice/space than they'd have at home and I prefer that they do something active. Quiet ones can sit in the school library if they like.

Backingvocals Fri 26-May-17 20:38:20

That's terrible. None of what you describe is ok. I'd be looking for other options but if not possible, asking for a meeting with the manager.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Fri 26-May-17 20:38:41

It's not what happens at our after school club (which is deservedly rated as excellent imho) but tbh I think for me it would depend how often my DCs went to it, 2 days a week ok, 5 days a week not ok. No reason not to fill in the anonymous feedback honestly though, you may not be the only one who feels that way.

Dishwashersaurous Fri 26-May-17 20:39:14

I would suspect that lots of people appreciate the substantial snack as it means that they don't need to feed the children at home and do a rush dinner before Bedtime.

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 26-May-17 20:39:44

I'm definitely not moving him. My only other option would be a childminder which wouldn't have the same level of social interaction, and I do like the club on the whole. Just not the food and the screens. I'm mainly curious to see how many others have issues with these (or one, or none).

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 26-May-17 20:40:28

He's there five days a week.

RedHelenB Fri 26-May-17 20:41:11

After a day at school kids need to fill. Use the after school."snack" as his tea and just you and dh way.

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 26-May-17 20:41:29

I would suspect that lots of people appreciate the substantial snack as it means that they don't need to feed the children at home and do a rush dinner before Bedtime

That did cross my mind Dish but we can't be that unusual to want a family meal with our children, surely?

RedHelenB Fri 26-May-17 20:41:34

Fill should be chill

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 26-May-17 20:42:56

But it's crap food Red. If it was healthy I might feel more kindly towards letting that be his dinner but it's straight-up beige.

Dishwashersaurous Fri 26-May-17 20:45:15

It's just a matter of time. Many, most infant school children are really tired at the end of the day so fitting in dinner as well as homework etc and getting into bed for seven is a challenge.

Also, it tends to be that many children do not do afterschool club every day, Eg parents work flexible hours or wfh one or two days a week and therefore do family meals then. And at weekends of course

Pigface1 Fri 26-May-17 20:45:59

I'd definitely have issues with both - the first more than the second, but definitely wouldn't be thrilled about the second - seems to me to defeat the point of having them in a social after school club Esther's than with a CM or nanny to put a film on/let them play with PlayStation!

Pigface1 Fri 26-May-17 20:46:12

Rather not Esther's.... sorry!

Jenniferturkington Fri 26-May-17 20:49:32

I think you would be perfectly reasonable to ask why they don't serve a healthier 'snack'. One of my dcs over eats and puts on weight very easily and would see this as a perfect excuse to have an extra meal. It's the last thing a parent needs who is trying to discreetly restrict junk junk.

As for point two, I can see your point. However my two oldest kids usually come home from school and collapse in front of the telly or consoles for an hour. Therefore I can see why they offer it and it would be hypocritical of me to suggest they make the kids play instead.

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 26-May-17 20:56:29

I don't think it is hypocritical, though, Jennifer. My DCs get screens at home, mainly out of necessity so I can get ready for work in the morning and so I can make dinner in the evening. I can't do these things and get them safely engaged in a task that's going to get them out from under my feet nearly as effectively. I wish I could, but I can't. I don't want them to have any more screens than they already get. These are professional childcare providers who offer loads of other options which would keep the children perfectly happy without screens.

SweetLuck Fri 26-May-17 21:00:55

I wouldn't mind the food, so long as they weren't there every day, but the screens would bother me.

AliMonkey Fri 26-May-17 21:04:16

On the food, I both agree and disagree with you. Our afterschool club used to offer similar meals to yours though a bit healthier (e.g. pasta with tomato sauce, lots of fruit and veg sticks on offer, but also some days of fish fingers etc). When DC were younger they needed tea at the club because couldn't last until 6.30+ which would have been earliest we could have tea having picked up about 5.45, got home, started cooking. And parent not on pickup duty not usually home until 7.30 or later so can't eat as family. Having expanded, their food is now more snacky (toast, scone, etc). OK now DC are older but I resent having to make them tea then do it again when DP home so they usually just get a sandwich or similar. (On the days I don't work I do cook properly for them.)

Re screens, our club has I think about four iPads and a few DS consoles. But they are strictly restricted to half hour max which so think is fine and similar to what I allow when home straight from school.

2014newme Fri 26-May-17 21:06:31

He's having his tea there he doesn't need a further meal.
Get a childminder if you don't like it

gillybeanz Fri 26-May-17 21:07:13

You can go somewhere else, maybe more expensive though.
They tend to just baby sit kids and it sounds like a good one with all the activities.
I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole because they are dire round here.
Your comments won't change anything as they will buy bulk shit food on the cheap.

2014newme Fri 26-May-17 21:07:25

Don't send an anonymous letter that's really crap. They'll bin it immediately and pay no heed to it.

lalalalyra Fri 26-May-17 21:07:37

I think you'll find that most people don't see what they serve as a snack. Lots of afterschool care providers that I know essentially feed the childrent their evening meal and that's what it sounds like yours does.

I'm torn on the screens issue. We don't have screens at the one I run, but lots of children do ask for them and we're considering it again. One 8yo pointed out to me that he spends most of club time playing monopoly, which involves sitting still, so asked what the difference was between that and playing on a Wii - he did have a point. We also don't use the playground as much as some parents would like us too, but that's because it's not as simple/practical as they think due to ratios, access to the toilets and security.

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