My girl is generally a good eater. But, oftentimes, she will come home with a full lunch. Barely touched. And several of the parents, when we get together will lament about that. They've brought it to the teacher's attention and at the beginning of the year, he did say he would try to be more conscientious about it and make sure the children are eating...
But come on, he's got 25 children, first graders no less and he can't be this hawk, harping on them to eat. I had asked the babe once why she didn't finish her lunch and she said, "Because I was too busy talking." Well that makes sense. And because we just had a conversation with another father about how his kids come home with their lunches full, I was thinking about it in the car this morning.
I thought about how interesting it is that in the early childhood program (kindergarten, preschool), the teachers try to set up good examples and help the children to form good habits before they head off to first grade. For instance, in preschool, sometimes they will light the silent candle. That way the children focus on eating and aren't chit chatting. In Kindergarten, they remind the children to take their protein bites first. Eat the protein before the fruit. And sometimes, children will come and complain that they hate their lunch and the Kindergarten teacher will say, "Take two bites to be polite." Isn't that nice?
All this is a wonderful effort and I think for the most part, the protein first sticks and of course, if the teacher kindly reminds the children they need to be eating, they probably would listen. But have you seen first graders? They are excited about everything and they love to talk to one another and socialize. I can see how lunch would come secondary to chatting with your friends about your fun weekend or what they did or who does what better.
Of course, food should not be wasted so we always make the babe finish her lunch when she gets home. And when she has play dates, I make those kids pull out their lunch and finish their lunch before they can run off and play. It's a good habit. It really is. Despite the fact that we usually get home around 4pm and have dinner anywhere from 5:30 - 6pm, the babes, will finish her lunch when we get home AND have plenty of appetite to eat dinner. They need the fuel.