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To expect school to help with this?

(119 Posts)
HopefullyAnonymous Thu 21-Sep-17 18:19:04

Sorry, will be long! DS is 9. For the last year or two we have struggled to get him to eat his packed lunches. It started with most of his sandwiches being left, then his yoghurt, sometimes crisps too. Sometimes he'd eat nothing. I've tried everything - no "snack items", wraps, salads, crackers and cheese, pasta/rice salads, quiche, pizzas made from rolled up pasty, school dinners. We've planned meals of his choosing at the weekend and he's helped make them. Still the same, he doesn't eat enough to keep a mouse going confused

I think the problem is that he wants to get out as quickly as possible. He can be the same at home if there's something he'd rather be doing, usually playing football! The problem is that he's borderline underweight for his age and I'm concerned. We have seen some improvements at home; I've tried smaller portions so that clearing his plate becomes manageable, I involve him with planning and cooking where I can. We make meal times family time to distract him from whatever else he's itching to get back to. He's not at all a fussy eater and he does enjoy food when he concentrates on eating it!

Due to his weight concerns I've asked whether school (tiny village school, less than 100 pupils) could keep an eye on him at lunch times and encourage him to eat/not let him out until he's at least eaten something. They said it's not their job to force him to eat, if he was hungry he'd eat and that's that. Due to wrap around childcare he sometimes goes almost 10 hours without food so I'm at my wits end and desperate for advice! Should I expect more help from school?

Angelicinnocent Thu 21-Sep-17 18:26:29

Realistically, they can't force him to eat, that would be abuse, they can't punish him for not eating by not allowing him out, that would be abuse. Best they can do is gentle encouragement.

At 9 though, can't you explain the necessity of food to him and get him to agree to eat one particular thing out of his lunch before he goes to play football or whatever.

NotTheDuchessOfCambridge Thu 21-Sep-17 18:29:32

If he has plenty of energy, is fit and well and is not losing weight I'd leave him be. Make his lunches as usual, and if he eats he eats. My daughter regularly brings home food in her bag. It's nice for the baby bel to get out of the house for a couple of hours!!

Balfe Thu 21-Sep-17 18:32:36

YABU. He's 9.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 21-Sep-17 18:32:42

people eat more when in front of tv... or the computer.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 21-Sep-17 18:33:25

no use for the school but maybe for home.

HopefullyAnonymous Thu 21-Sep-17 18:36:02

YABU. He's 9

I don't follow.

Bambamber Thu 21-Sep-17 18:36:39

Is there anyway he can spread his food throughout the day? So has a little something mid morning, a little something at lunch and a little something in the afternoon? That way it won't take long for him to eat but will help keep him going during the day

Balfe Thu 21-Sep-17 18:37:31

He's old enough to understand that he needs to eat throughout the day.

HopefullyAnonymous Thu 21-Sep-17 18:38:16

Eating in front of the tv/laptop is a definite no hmm he's not so bad at home if prompted, which is what I hoped school might do too. I didn't expect them to force him! His weight has been flagged as a concern by the GP; he's constantly on the go playing sport etc so is not eating enough.

AGrinWithoutACat Thu 21-Sep-17 18:38:45

DS (11) eats very little at lunch and it is very plain (2 slices of bread and butter - huge amount of crust left and maybe a couple of cocktail sausages or a pork pie or cereal bar)

He makes it himself after years of me making varied and nutritious lunches for the compost bin

However he has huge amounts of energy, eats a balanced diet when looked at over a 24 hour period and, while skinny, grows like a weed

Relax, make sure food is available and if he eats a good breakfast and dinner don't worry, when he gets hungry he will eat

HopefullyAnonymous Thu 21-Sep-17 18:40:03

He does understand - it has been discussed at length, explained that he needs it for energy, to play sport etc. Lunch box still comes home full every day.

existentialmoment Thu 21-Sep-17 18:41:33

YABU. It's not the schools job. Who exactly do you think should be sitting with your son throughout lunch?

Scholes34 Thu 21-Sep-17 18:41:59

Don't be too worried. I remember DC not eating enough, then suddenly I couldn't fill them up and had to ensure there was always plenty of bread for toast to snack on after school. DS1 and DS2 are fine, have healthy appetites, but are both still skinny as a rake.

I don't think it's for the school to deal with.

BeyondThePage Thu 21-Sep-17 18:43:37

I used to be a mid day supervisor. We had 3 ladies watching 560 children on a rolling lunchbreak (first 200 in to eat, and then a class at a time when there was room) - the other 3 were watching play outdoors.

We had 2 tables of "allergy" watch - which took one dinner lady, we had 90 reception kids, taking another dinner lady - the OTHER ONE would "watch" the rest. Good luck.

Appuskidu Thu 21-Sep-17 18:43:58

School can encourage but they can't make him eat.

Where does he go to before/after school club? Does that have a higher adult/child ration?

Wolfiefan Thu 21-Sep-17 18:46:28

What exactly do you want them to do? They can't refuse to let him out until he's eaten. That wouldn't be a healthy approach anyway.
If he is struggling to keep weight on you could reduce some of the sport? Sounds daft but maybe saying you haven't eaten enough today so your body doesn't have enough fuel to do football tonight might help?
What reason does he give for not eating?

Fekko Thu 21-Sep-17 18:48:48

It's good that the box comes home with tha uneaten contents.

I'd try to bargain - he has to eat x, y, z and will be allowed [insert treat if choice]. You just need to make sure he doesn't cotton on to bin the lunch!

HopefullyAnonymous Thu 21-Sep-17 18:51:03

Just that he didnt want anything. We have already cut out swimming and running, on the doctors advice, so it's just football now. He's been tested for anything underlying to explain weight loss but we suspect it's literally just lack of food.

I don't expect anyone to sit with him, just possibly prompt him to eat before playing. As explained it's a very small school so 1 supervisor for 560 children isn't the issue.

Dawnedlightly Thu 21-Sep-17 18:53:29

What do you do when he brings home the full lunchbox? At 9 he's old enough to understand he consequences. What do you say to him?

JennyOnAPlate Thu 21-Sep-17 18:56:33

In the school I work at we would certainly encourage a child to eat. If they refused to eat it would be reported as a concern to their teacher, who would bring it up with their parents.

I don't think you are asking too much of school to at least keep an eye and strongly encourage him to eat something.

butterfly198615 Thu 21-Sep-17 18:56:42

When my son started junior school, I sent him with packed lunches and they were coming home not ate and his drink hadn't been touched. I asked him why he hasn't ate anything at all, as it wasn't like him to leave all his dinner. He said that he wanted to go out and play . I spoke to him and told him he must eat. When I spoke to the school, they said that he couldn't find his lunch box most days. Even though my son said that wasn't true. I'm thinking my son was going in late for his dinner as packed lunches go at different times to eat than the dinners. So I put it down too him going in too late for his dinner and then not eating to get back out to play before dinner time ended.
Do you think this could be happening with your son ?

I switched my son over to school dinners and things have improved now and I know he is eating as most of his friends are on dinners so hes with them and he tells me of he had something he's not keen on etc.

RaspberryIce Thu 21-Sep-17 19:01:20

Do they give him anything at after school club?

Anasnake Thu 21-Sep-17 19:02:15

Apart from someone saying 'come on, eat up' what can school do ? And if he ignores that what else are you expecting them to do ?

ineedamoreadultieradult Thu 21-Sep-17 19:03:07

Does he have a favourite football player that you can use to model good eating habits. You can find all sorts out online these days about the diet of footballers etc and most big clubs will have some football related literature about healthy eating aimed at kids. Its aimed at kids who eat too much of the wrong thing to be fair but it might encourage him to see food as fuel.

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