Why do parents do this at pick up?(324 Posts)
I've name changed for this as I dont want to offend anyone I know IRL.
My DS is in a very small primary school. There is always a set of parents who meet their kids at the pick up doors with a 'treat' (bag of crisps, chocolate donuts, cupcakes etc). But I know where these kids live and its within a 3 minute walk of the school. Why do they need a snack at the door?
My DS is also usually starving after school but can manage the 3 min walk home, wash his hands and then sit at the table to eat.
I just don't get it? I'm foreign so maybe its a custom I haven't come across before? I've always wondered about it, but figured each to their own. But now, DS's best friends dad will often bring a 'treat' for DS as well. It's extremely kind and I'm always very grateful and thank him. But I don't want him having a treat every single day after school. I'm a bit strict at home about not making junk food into a habit but I don't want to come across as judgy or sanctimonious. I also feel odd not reciprocating and bringing treats in.
AIBU to not understand this?
Not sure there's anything to understand.
You do things one way, they do things another way. Neither of you are wrong.
I'm foreign so maybe its a custom I haven't come across before?
Yes, it is. It's a very well-established British custom. Just to bring you up to speed, we tend to ram these junk snacks down our craws whilst queuing politely for our turn around the May Pole and passively-aggressively tutting about the weather.
You don't need to " understand" it. Some people just parent differently from you...
I agree with you op. It seems like a pointless effort if you live so close.
Why do they need a snack at the door?
You must be foreign if you've never heard of all of the cases of poor British children succumbing to starvation and exposure on a 3 minute walk from school.
To be fair, most of these deaths occurred during the War. It's a thing of past now that they've got snack sized crisps. But the FEAR remains.
Nothing to do with nationality whatsoever. It's just people being individuals. They do, you don't, simple as!
They might be going home then straight out again to swimming/dance/something.
No one did that in my day. We occasionally got an ice cream from the ice cream van but certainly didn't get food everyday.
I think people have become obsessed with making sure their DC never have an empty belly.
Maybe it’s just to keep them quiet on the journey home.
There's a mum at our school who does this with her hyperactive boy...a packet of haribo or something blue in a tube and a can of tango. Every day. She wonders why she has trouble with him.
Not sure there's anything to understand
You have to put on the wide-eyed, faux-naif, 'please explain peculiar British customs' act in order to obliquely judge other people's parenting without coming across like a full-on GF
Is it a new thing for parents to be competitive over the eating habits of their DC?! There are few threads running today along a similar theme. I have 2 DC, one eats like a horse at meal times but never snacks, the other grazes consistently throughout the day and always has done. He has a snack leaving nursery while the other one can wait til they get home and has our evening meal. I couldn’t tell you what other parents do because I don’t care, my kids are healthy and happy and if anyone wants to judge them then crack on!
I'd not call it a 'treat' if it is every day. That's just a 'something to tide them over til dinner' kind of thing.
A treat is, I believe and according to Google:
'^an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure^'
My DS gets hungry in the afternoon so we sometimes take a little snack - in fact his teacher asked to pack him an afternoon snack at one point as he was hungry and grouchy - different kids need different things
Why don't you bring a banana or something in instead then? They might not be going straight home, I know I have piano or swimming straight after school so they need something to keep them going.
I don't want to come across as judgy or sanctimonious
You are a bit though.
To answer your original question - a lot of kids come out of school hungry, and it can affect their behaviour. I found that my kids were a lot less grumpy if they had a snack when they finished school. It also meant that they weren't demanding food the instant we got through the door, and I had time to make a proper tea for them without them being whiny and difficult while they waited. We always lived some distance from school, so they had a car journey before we got home. If I had lived a few minutes walk from school, I may well have done the same as you and waited until we got home.
If you don't want your DS having snacks, you could just say to the Dad "Thank you so much for thinking of DS, but I would prefer him not to have snacks before his tea, as it spoils his appetite." He's only being kind, and if he's a reasonable person he won't be offended if you politely decline the snacks.
I don’t understand it either but who cares?
To each their own. My mum NEVER did this with me but when she picks my dc up from school she ALL was has a snack at hand
I used to do this in reception for dtds. Never did with dd1 but twins are youngest in the year and I'd regularly carry them to the car as they were so tired. A snack helped them walk the 5 minute walk to the car. Also means no crumbs on the carpet from after school snacks. It's actually quite genius
She isn't coming across that way. She's just questioning why some parents feel their children can't possibly go another minute without some food. It's uncouth, if you ask me.
Agreed with the faux wide eyed concern about getting it wrong
You know it's not a custom
You have no idea what they are doing when they get in or when their dinner is cooked or whether they have visitors or clubs. It's really not that hard and jack to do with you other than the fact he is bringing it for your son.
Just say politely you would rather he wasn't given a treat , thanks for thinkig of him but youll give him his food at home.
Do not mention the comments you have made above just deal with it politely as an adult
DS is constantly "hungry". If I was a 3 minute walk from school I wouldn't bring a snack to the door, but often we don't go straight home, or the drive home can take 15 mins or so, in those cases I might bring some crisps or cheese sticks or something.
I always met my son with a treat as he was exhausted and starving after school my daughter didn't need one parent as per the needs of the child not as per your made up rules
I always take a snack for the kids. We live very close to their school. We often go straight from school to after school activities. I was not born in this country but have adopted many of their better customs, like this one.
I would always hand my DS a drink and a snack straight away at pick up. But it would be a piece of fruit eg apple or banana rather than a donut or haribo. I'd say maybe once he got to about 8 he then waited until we got home.
For us our school walk home was longer than 3 minutes, having autism he hated the school dinner hall and ate a tiny pack up at lunch, and if he had waited to get home to have snack he would then not have eaten his evening meal properly.
Everyone does things differently. I'd not want someone bringing my child sweets or pastries every day at 3pm like they do their own child though. I wouldn't want them to expect that every day and I'm far from a "no sweet treats" mum. I'd just ask the other parent politely not to bring anything for your ds, say you all have a sit down snack when you get home.
To be honest I would find it annoying if another parent took it upon themselves to give my child junk food everyday.
I think it makes excellent sense for many of the reasons other contributors have given.
I agree, it does seem odd. We lived 10 minutes away from my children's primary school and they managed to survive till we got back home without eating. When they went to secondary school, they survived even longer journeys.
If it was a homemade biscuit, for example, would it still be classed as “junk”?
whilst queuing politely for our turn around the May Pole and passively-aggressively tutting about the weather.
It's irrelevant if it's homemade or not to me. I would find it interfering if done every day after school.
I never came across that but there's nothing wrong with it. Don't worry about what others do.
It's probably for a bit of peace on the way home. Some dc come out of school really hungry and might moan all the way!
How do you know the children are all going straight home, OP? My DC do ballet, drama, trampolining and gymnastics straight after school hours.
I agree with a PP that your OP sounds somewhat disingenuous. You are judging them and I don't think there's anything about it that you don't understand.
It's maybe a little treat they look forward to at 3 o clock.
Little ones just starting school feel like it's a long day and look forward to seeing you again.
My kids were always starving finishing school and ds was not impressed with school full stop.
Each to their own. I used to bring a little treat expects to be called a bad mum
I do it cos
1. They like it
2. They're hungry
3. We're often going straight on to an activity
I don't always give treats though, it's mixed up.
Not on for the other parent to daily give yours junk though. I'd do a 'sorry, I don't like him to have sweets every day' after the third day.
Yeah, it annoys me too. Parents seem to feel the need to feed up their children every available moment.
I know kids come out hungry but waiting until they're home just seems like good manners. And I say this as someone who's children have to walk a mile home!
A homemade biscuit is not “junk food”. How many additives does the average parent add to the biscuit mix? Hmm?
Take time to think about it.
I was a bit bemused as well - I get it when they are heading off somewhere else.
Though TBH I found best way was to join in with it occasionally not enough for it to be routine with healthy snacks during very early years and not do it after that –it was helpful end of terms when they were getting very tired with behaviour or if I wanted to hit park or library with them.
Though it's harder with youngest. Her best friend non British family gets snack she wants to share, friend has less than five minute walk , but DD despite long walk is capable of waiting to eat - in fact given how picky she is with food at meals snacks aren't something she needs and not something her teeth need at all. I don't reciprocate - say thank you and try and avoid walking home with them as much as possible.
I had to do this with ds when he was in reception, it was a big change going from nursery to reception and as boisterous as he was he struggled with tiredness. a snack straight from school - and that snack was usually a brioche or a banana bread thing - meant he would then walk the 15 minute walk home without screaming and crying out of tiredness.
Just ask the parent not to give your son a treat in future, not the end of the world.
If you feel strongly that you don’t want your child to have it then you just need to thank his friends parent for the offer and politely refuse.
Sounds like what you’re annoyed about is that you would rather other parents did what you do so you don’t have to say no to your child.
Yep, this is all so 'Ich bein ein foreigner, but why are you English fatsoes always STUFFING down doughnuts, thank you please, merci bien'
Disingenuous to the max.
Such bollocks, just a little excuse to judge, right?
Not everyone does this you know. And even if they do - so what?
I can understand it if the children are going straight on to another activity, but I find it difficult to believe that all the children concerned are in fact doing that every day of the week.
I don’t get it either! I find it annoying, because now my two want me to bring them something as well and I don’t think it’s necessary! I just think we’ll be home in a minute. But I do sometimes bring something just because I can’t be bothered with them moaning about it ‘so and so has got something’ or ‘I’m staaarrrrrrrrrrving’.
also, I actually don't understand this, but what difference does it make if the child eats the snack (lardy or not) on the way back from school or at the table. Why does that matter?
We have to maintain our rating as one of the world's worst countries for childhood obesity somehow OP! Children being hungry for a short while? Heaven forbid!
Wow, so much passive aggression from one simple comment! I really don’t understand what the issue is with the OP’s question.
Anyway, I think it’s a modern problem that everyone seems to think that seeing their child eating equates to seeing the child happy and using food to control or placate. Maybe not a UK thing although you do see more small children in a buggy with some kind of food in their hands here than abroad, I think.
I don’t have a child of school age, but I’d also be the killjoy who arrived at the school gates empty handed, if it makes you feel better! I think children need to learn to be patient.
Eating in the street! End of civilisation as we know it
We're a 10 min walk to the bus stop, a 10 min wait and a 15 min bus ride from home.
When DS 1 was in infants he was starving to the point of tears at the end of the school day at 3.30, having had his lunch at 11.45. So I would take him a biscuit or some breadsticks or a banana.
Most kids have a snack after school. Does it matter whether they have it on the hoof or at home?
Your aibu probably should have been about the dad giving your ds snacks without checking with you. But to answer your actual aibu of course you are!
Having regular snacks is actually better for kids than 3 larger meals a day. I always bring DS a snack. It's only a mile home and he could survive but he enjoys having a snack walking home and it's not harming anyone. I wouldn't bring a huge donut or something to present to him in front of his friends though.
It is very easy to lose your identity as a parent and become disproportionately obsessed with unimportant, nit picking crap and become one of those judgey feckers.
Top tip OP - get a life.
For me, the issue is the fact that it's a non issue (but disguised in the faux 'Is it British custom?' question which I don't believe).
I've put my child through primary without even noticing this as an issue, she would sometimes have a snack, sometimes not, nobody gets upset about what other kids are having. (Maybe a reception age might, but... just say no?
Wanting other people to change how they parent so you don’t have to bother dealing with saying no to your child is just lazy imo.
I’ve had it in the park when my kids have been climbing trees and other children are told they aren’t allowed and to get down resulting in a massive tantrum and cries of ‘but they’re doing it’ while the parent glares at me. I just think to myself sorry love but the fact your child is a brat that won’t follow your instructions isn’t my problem.
I do it when walking but only because it’s a twenty to thirty minute walk
I’m not fussed about eating in the street but I can’t be bothered trying to get snacks together when I’m rushing around trying to get everything done when I can make something / give them something at home.
I live 8 mins walk from school. I do give my ds a snack after school, however he either has it at home, or sitting on a bench at the park if we are heading straight there.
It's nothing big, an apple or some nuts and raisins. If I didn't give anything he'd be whining for his dinner at 3.45.
Our neighbour is usually picked up by grandparents and they always have some
Sort of cake or giant cookie for her. This results in my kids demanding to know why they are getting fobbed off with a poxy apple.
AllesAusLiebe It’s not the question, it’s the sweeping assumption behind it that all children are like hers and that it’s parenting at fault here! There have been many reasons demonstrated as to why some kids get given snacks after school, if the OP disagrees then fair enough but no need for the excuse that it must be a British custom they are unaware of - if you want to slag off other people’s parenting then go ahea led but don’t be surprised to get your arse handed to you!
It’s to shut them up so you don’t actually have to talk to them in the time between pick up and sitting them down in front of the telly/tablet.
Tried and tested, give it a go!
We were recommended an instant snack with my asd son to avoid change and sensory issues .....
My DS have always been starving after school. I did sometimes bring a treat but I preferred to give them a small sandwich or pitta and hummus and a glass of milk, which filled them up until they had their evening meal. They never had a problem with the weight.
I'm foreign to and my DC have some snack on the way home so nationally got nothing to do with it.
You'll find that the parents who do this are the ones with a need to be their child's best friend all the time and have no discipline.
I do this - a typical snack is a tube yoghurt and a bag of mini cheddar for the walk home with her little sister.
Because she's starving and grumpy and the school lunch doesn't fill her up like a home lunch - not sure If it's their portion portion size or the taste.
That way we can meander home while she 'comes round' and the toddler can walk at toddler pace - taking about 15-20 minutes rather than the usual 5 minute march.
The timing gives a head start so that by the time tea is ready at 5.30/6ish she is ready to eat it properly and then we can do our bedtime routine.
I.e. A snack on walking out of school fits our family routine and my child's food requirements.
You can be judgy all you like - have you not realised people and families can do things differently...
I live abroad. Primary school aged kids walk home from school every day. Our walk takes about 20 minutes. Some are shorter, some are longer. People would be very shocked to see a school child walking home with a snack. It just isn’t done here. I can see the OP’s point. If kids abroad can manage without it, why the insistence that British kids need it?
Why does it matter to you? People will do things differently to you,as PP said there's no wrong way or right way.
I was having a think about this and realised that I have never seen anyone do this at my kids school.
Not that that means anything at all in the grand scheme of things...
I have obviojsly failed as a mother. Not only did I never meet my son and hand him a snack, he waited until family dinner time before eating. Well not quite true I did used to offer him a snack when we got in because dinner is not until much later but he always refused. He knew/knows he can ask for something but never does
@californiascreaming then why not make you child a home lunch to take in? Seems silly spending money on a school lunch that's not filling her up and having to spend again on a snack.
The OP doesn’t mean after school snacks in general. She specifically means parents who give their kids snacks at the school gate rather than waiting 5 minutes until they get home. Unless you mean you greet your child at the school gate with pita bread and a glass of milk?
When I was at primary school my mum used to let me and my sister choose a 10p mix bag of sweets from the newsagent on the way home - every single day. We've both survived.. got to the grand old age of 39 without any tooth decay or major health concerns.
Live and let live OP.
I blame A Finger of Fudge
If you feel strongly that you don’t want your child to have it then you just need to thank his friends parent for the offer and politely refuse.
I've tried that with DD2 – other mother’s English is variable and she frequently claims not to understand - and then I had a mile walk home with a sulking child.
As girls got older they often wouldn't ask - I've tried point out her teeth issues which again leads to sulks but is slowly seeping in – though avoiding entire situation is my preferred option. (My older two DC turn food down but this one will eat junk to point of sickness and has not learnt from that.)
I did once get told off by another parent picking up from an after school activity as DD2 was eating a huge lolly - causing her child to want one and start whining. I pointed out I hadn’t given it to my child it was a school class prize which she's opened at end of activity before we were let in. What was I supposed to do take her prize off her?
Led to rant about school policies – she had a point though as school was healthy eating and very difficult about packed lunches at the time. Though I declined to complain about the teacher in question I suggested she could raise it herslef with head teacher in a more general way.
By "Why do parents do this?", you mean "Why do these parents do this?". One set of parents in z school doing something does not a British custom make .
There’s no insistence ‘British kids need it’ ffs. In some countries, some people, give some of their kids, who are sometimes hungry, a snack after school. Don’t be so ridiculous or positive that this thread is anything but goady, with the feigned ‘ohhh i don’t understand, this awful culture’ crap. Unless you are actually stupid what’s not to understand
My DS eats all his school dinner and still has a snack after school. They finish lunch at 12:00 so he's hungry again by home time. I don't give my son treats as such after school and he will moan when he sees other kids getting them occasionally but surely that's just part of life. There will always be a kid who gets given their own flat screen TV and xbox for their 5th birthday and the other kids want it too. It's our job as parents to explain that they can't have it just because Timmy down the road does.
I don't want to come across as judgy or sanctimonious
Hate to break it to you, OP, but...
When I lived abroad I often saw the same (I even saw kids getting given big treats before school in one case - her parents were Spanish but I don't assume it's part of Spanish culture to eat donuts at 8:30 am.!). My DS's pre-school (ages 3-7) actually always had a snack last thing because they knew kids were hungry by that time.
Go to places like the USA and see a nation of people seemingly unable to form a queue without needing to eat something. Sadly it looks like we too are heading the same way.
Everything we do in the high street/shopping/festivals/events is becoming about food and snacks now.
Take Cinemas - 30 years ago you might get people taking a small bag of sweets in, anything more than this was highly unusual, ice creams in the intermission excepted of course.
Now you can't move for people chowing down on nachos, hot dogs, pizzas or burgers.
And yes, childhood obesity, obesity in general in this country and some others are off the charts, and all of that is down to a change in eating habits, junk food being more accessible to people than more healthy options, processed food being pushed at us for profit.
When my DS was in primary I would take the occasional snack but I was very conscious that I didn't want it to be an expectation, and for him to form a habit that I then had to uphold, it would then become a JOB I had to do, rather than what it was, an occasional surprise.
That said, if we had to go to an afterschool class, swimming or music or whatever, it was impossible to do without a car picnic. but that was specifically because I knew it would be 2 hours poss 3 until he could have his proper 'tea'.
It's not stopped him wanting snacks, and now he's older he still will make crap choices if given free rein, but that's what happens, I have to make sure that what I buy is sensible, that junk is not off limits totally, but managed sensibly. I'm not saying i have it right, but its an attempt at a conscious thought to what's going into his mouth.
I think what OP is referring to is the snacking of kids who live 3mins down the road and getting automatic snacks... and yes it does happen, we ALL know this. It's the same kinds of kids who melt in the rain.
OP is trying to understand the nonsense that is the british schoolgate, wondering if being foreign could explain why she couldn't. I didn't take it as a "oooh look at zeeze eenglish, what are zey like" kind of thing.
Infomerkel It's not you love, nothing about the whole school/schoolgate/playground stuff makes any sense. Welcome to the alien planet that is the School System
I agree, I don't understand it either, but to be honest I couldn't care less.
The only time it's caused issues is when my daughter was younger seeing lots of kids getting sweets every day, but even then I always used the, 'everyone treats their kids differently, I do what I think is best for you and their parents do what is best for them' type response.
Children always leave school grumpy and ravenous, it’s been that way since the dawn of civilisation
or since education became a thing . It doesn’t matter how much they ate for breakfast or lunch, they always leave famished.
Agreed it would be preferable to offer a piece of fruit but I would argue you have a bit too much time on your hands to pay such close attention to these details.
Yes kids might sulk if they aren’t allowed what other kids have. They might also sulk if their friends are allowed to stay up later, have more screen time/pocket money or whatever. That doesn’t mean other parents should do what you do just to make your life easier!
Ok, Amanduh, first calm down. No, I’m not actually stupid. Some parents on this thread have insisted that their kids need a snack at the school gate in order to manage the walk home from school. Maybe other countries also have this custom, but, I think in most countries kids are given a snack at home, not at the school gate.
To say that it doesn’t do any harm may be correct, but there is a huge problem with childhood obesity in the UK.
I’d never have been allowed this as a kid and, despite a 20 min walk I’m not pandering to demands for snacks - they do ask and they see their friends with food. It’s unnecessary and just makes them walk slower. But I also think the snacking culture in this country is part of the reason so many of us are overweight - it was certainly part of it for me and I’m loosing it whilst surprised how little I really do need to eat. Kids also get milk and fruit at school. Humans are designed to feel hungry for a while before eating.
It really is just a treat there is nothing to understand kid comes out of school is happy to see parent and sweets It really doesn't matter how far away they live. Iused to take mine to the shop on afriday after school for sweets i lived a stones throw from school
I do it for both of mine for a number of reasons:
- They have lunch from 12 and finish after school clubs at 415, and it can be nearer 430 before they get out the gates.
- Both have SEND and sensory issues so don't eat that well, will likely have picked at lunch & be hungry.
- DC2 has brain damage and if she's fiddling with a banana/cereal bar/occasional packet of Haribo she less likely to have a meltdown, randomly punch her big brother or attempt to throw herself under a passing car.
- It eases the transition from school to home for them both.
- It takes the edge off their hunger long enough until teatime.
They are on such low centiles for weight (35th & 15th) I'm not that concerned from a health point of view.
It’s stress relief for some children - not sure that’s a good thing but it’s comfort food a lot of the time. Mine always want something.
Some SEN children really need to crunch or have feedback on their jaws - it’s sensory feedback - calming
needtogiveitablow Maybe I misunderstood, but I didn’t see anything rude in the original post.
I’ve lived here for a very long time now, but still ask myself on occasions, “is this a British thing?!”. It doesn’t matter; I do lots of things that are incomprehensible to other people (particularly dh!) which have nothing to do with my nationality.
Sometimes it is difficult to navigate and the desire not to offend can lead to exactly the reverse happening, which is I suspect the position we find ourselves in here with the OP.
My son has multiple health problems as well as a anxiety problem. So finds the lunch hall to noisy and busy to want to eat. so 9/10 will of had a bite of his sandwich, a handful of crisps and that is it! Trouble is he needs double the calories most children have to put on the same weight. So when I pick him up from school he literally eats from quarter past 3 till suppertime so his body gets what it needs. So yes i have snacks for my son to eat straight from school as he starving. I could bring him home for lunch but then he can't play with his friends, so either way I'm in the wrong! I can't win. School judge if I take him home for lunch and parents judge if I bring snacks at end of the day. So I do what I need too to keep my son out of hospital and sod everyone else!!
If it bothers you then you need to just say thanks but no thanks to the parent offering your kid food & if your kid whinges just go with the tried & tested "That's up to Jimmy's mummy/daddy but I'm your mummy & I decide what you're allowed"
I take a snack. DS comes out so hungry. We either have activities after school or a 15 minute walk home. Without a snack that 15 minute walk can take 45 as he struggles to get it together when he is hungry. DH is the same.
It’s not ideal but it’s much more pleasant for me, DD (who doesn’t want or need a snack) and him to just bring an apple or banana or carrot sticks for him to have.
It annoys me a bit that there is an ice cream van outside school at pick up time. Other DC may have clubs so it's not something you can easily judge. And I do bring something tiny for DD at preschool pick up as an insentive for staying there.
I do get annoyed at church, one child is ALWAYS eating something. It's mainly fruit or maltloaf or crackers but my DD then wants something and starts begging me for food. It is an hour and a quarter and there is tea and biscuits after. I am happy to let her have biscuits after, but I am not happy to cart food round for an almost 4 year old who had breakfast 2 hours ago, and one who is going to be given at least 3 chocolate biscuits by wellmeaning members of the congregation.
I am working on three meals plus 2 small snacks.
Aware that DD begging is probably my parenting. I just keep going with the 'no, we have snack after xx'
It’s all the rage in France I believe. Le gouter.
I agree with you op although I have never seen this type of thing go on at our school. It is not good to hand a child (barring special needs) a treat as they walk out of school.
The only problem here is parents to afraid to say no to their children. Much better to teach your kids to handle the word no than to expect every other parent to march to your tune for fear your own child might be jealous.
Wow, so much rudeness, snippiness and defensiveness on this thread.
There does seem to be a certain type of parent who is terrified her child will feel mildly hungry for ten seconds and arrives everywhere with boxes of raisins and packets of rice cakes and tubs of hummus etc etc. Said parents then insist that their child needs regular snacks or they become cranky and distressed and throw tantrums
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