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Dinner time problems...

(12 Posts)
kathrynharriet Thu 22-Sep-11 22:45:01

Hello, hoping for some advice on my dd, she has just started reception. (She was 4 at the end of august.) Its full time and she has 2 older siblings who go there, they all go hot dinners.
The problem is she refuses to eat and the reports back from the dinner ladies is that she is stubborn and eats nothing apart from her pudding. She is a very poor eater at home and we are working on this.
The teacher has suggested moving her to the rainbow room, I think this room is used for positive play etc. She said they would be able to offer more support out of the dinner room.
Not sure how to feel about it all really, I don't really want her seperating, but what else should I do? I sent her dinners in the hope seeing other children would encourage her to eat.
She seems to of settled quite well after a few early tears. She still sooooooo young sad Tia for anyones advice. X

thisisyesterday Thu 22-Sep-11 22:48:05

i wouldn't do anything.

the more people try and make her eat the less likely she is to eat anything.
i think taking her into a different room will just make a massive deal out of it and upset her.

i would either accept that she is only eating some pudding and make sure she has a good meal at home, or ask her if she'd prefer a packed lunch and give her stuff you know she will eat.

either way i think the key is not to put pressure on her. to let her take it at her own pace

carpwidow Thu 22-Sep-11 22:49:06

In my experience, no child ever starved to death when food was available and she wil grow out of it. I would suggest not making a fuss and just ensure that what she does eat is good quality food. smile

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 22-Sep-11 22:53:37

just sending sympathy really. My dd2 is a similar age - not long 4 and just started reception.

Her former nursery made a big fuss about food (made it worse imho). dd2 never really had any food issues afaik, but went through a slightly stubborn stage. The nursery staff were a bit shock when I told them not to make an issue; certainly not about pudding or fruit.

Thankfully in our case it was short lived.

When she started school (2 weeks ago) dd1 had a chat with her about the dinners and what to expect and what would happen if you wouldn't eat/didn't like it etc. dd2 seemed to like knowing what the deal was and what would happen if you left something (in their school the dinner lady asks nicely for you to try two mouthfuls)

Would it work if one of her older siblings had a low key chat about it with her? (depends on their ages etc I guess)

IndigoBell Thu 22-Sep-11 22:58:06

I would take up the offer of the rainbow room - but find out more about it first.

It is probably for several kids who need help at lunchtime, so she won't be alone, and probably presented as a huge treat that she got to be chosen to go the rainbow room.

If she tries the rainbow room and doesn't like it - then all she has to do is eat better and she can go back smile (You can make the 'eat better' goal something you and school know she can achieve.)

carpwidow Thu 22-Sep-11 23:12:53

I'd like to go to a rainbow room grin

mamadoc Thu 22-Sep-11 23:27:36

I was very worried about my DDs eating at school as she's always been a very bad eater.
I have surprised myself by finding the school lunch thing quite liberating. No-one tells me whether she's eaten or not (DD herself is not to be trusted) and I am finding its one less thing to stress over.
DD said 'if you don't eat it they just take it away' in complete amazement as she's used to endless debate and low level threats from me.
I am just taking the attitude that if she's hungry she will eat either there or at home.
I agree that making a fuss over it is probably only going to make it worse. I've got horrible memories myself as a child of being forced to stay in all lunch hour til I'd eaten a plate of tinned peas which I hated so much I then threw them all up immediately.
I think the best advice is do nothing and see if it resolves itself when she's a bit more settled.

KaFayOLay Fri 23-Sep-11 14:56:55

Had the same trouble with dd last year in reception, she too is an August baby.
Lunchtimes were becoming so angst ridden due to the dinner ladies badgering her to eat that she didn't want to go to school.

In the end, I put a note in her lunch bag stating that she was not to be cajoled and bullied into eating. She will come to no harm by not eating her lunch and if anybody had any issues to come and speak to her Mum.

Bingo smile.
As I understand, it caused quite a stir amongst the dinner ladies grin but I didn't care what they thought. They were making a little girl very unhappy sad.

Now in yr 1, she still doesn't each much but eats well when she gets home and I make sure she goes to school on either porridge or poached eggs on toast smile.

insanityscatching Fri 23-Sep-11 18:02:54

Had a word with dd's TA today asking that she reminds the dinner ladies again (must be a new one) that dd can eat as little or as much as she likes and mustn't be cajoled as advised by paed. It works, but they forget to update the new ones sometimes. Dd has a cooked breakfast and a proper dinner so if she only nibbles at lunchtime because of sensory issues it's not a problem.
I would ask them to back off, if dd is within the normal ranges there is nothing to worry about if she chooses not to eat.

yellowsubmarine41 Sun 25-Sep-11 11:39:00

Hope that you get this resolved.

My dd is usually a very good, unfussy eater, though she's been upset and tearful at lunchtimes since she started staying for lunch on Monday. It's having to carry a plate/tray partly but she's very clear that the main problem is that there are too many children and it's too noisy.

I'm going to switch her to packed lunch tomorrow and phone to see if there is any equivalent to a 'rainbow room'. They feed reception and year 1 together, so there are approx 120 kids in the dining room and tbh she's absolutely right that it is too much for her.

Apparently they used to let the reception children eat in their classroom, but that's not allowed now on elf and safety grounds.

Marymaryalittlecontrary Sun 25-Sep-11 17:01:00

I'm not too sure what your Rainbow Room is for but it's probably similar to the nuture group that used to go on at lunchtimes at a school I used to work at. Children who had certain SEN, or behaviour issues, or were just generally a bit overwhelmed by the big dining hall experience had lunch together in a much smaller room, around 1 table, with 2 members of staff. They then played in the room or in the nursery outdoor area, which was smaller than the main playground but had much nicer equipment.

The children loved it and I thought it was so much better for them than the noisy dining hall and large playground environments. They also had proper plates instead of the trays the rest of the school used, they took turns with jobs such as giving out cutlery and wiping the table, and there were only about 10 of them so the staff could talk to them all and they could talk to each other without having to shout over a din.

I would definitely have recommended that room over the main dining hall to any parent.

kathrynharriet Sun 25-Sep-11 21:40:22

Thank you all for your wonderful advice! Spoke to her teacher on friday morning and said no to the rainbow room. I didn't want any more pressure on her. They agreed to try her again in the dining hall.
They gave her and a friend a proper plate and didn't givw her a pudding until she'd tried her dinner. Worked loads better! I have stressed to the teacher that she is not to be told she is naughty for not eating. I'm not happy with the way its been handled but fingers crossed things should improve! I have also looked at the menu and told her what dinner will be. Thanks again for your help, its nice to know i'm not the only one with a picky eatersmile X

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