One of the best ways to help your child learn and enjoy school is to make sure they are sufficiently fueled throughout the day. While you can make sure they wolf down their breakfast before leaving for school, you can never be sure if they eat their lunch when the time comes.
Some kids have trouble eating around others, or younger children may not have the motor skills to open packets, at least not without making a mess. This can make them dread lunchtime, which could interfere with their focus for the rest of the day. If you have discovered that your child has a problem with eating their lunch, here are six ways you can encourage them.
Make It Easy
Kids want convenience, especially when it comes to their food. Whether they eat school dinners or bring a packed lunch with them, it should be easy to open so they have enough time to eat before the lunch period finishes.
The best way to do this is by unpacking anything that could be tricky to open. This could be crisp packets or bags of cut-up fruit. All schools provide the weekly menu for you to check out and decide whether your child would benefit from cooked meals or lunches from home. If everything in their lunch box is easy to open, they can dig in as soon as they sit down.
Stick to One Container
Your kids already have enough to carry in their backpacks without complicating things by bringing multiple food containers to school. Just like packets that are tricky to open, too many containers can stress your kids out, and some containers could spill open during the morning, which makes a mess in their backpack.
Purchasing a bento box, especially one with multiple compartments, can avoid this. Rather than give your child a paper bag or several containers, you can pack everything into one convenient box that your kids can open easily.
Make It Bite-Sized
You cannot supervise your kids when they are eating at school. You are unable to help them regulate their bites and slow down if you think they are eating too fast and not chewing enough. Most kids will rush through lunch so they can play or hang out with their friends, so you won’t be able to rely on them to slow down. Instead, you can cut up food into bite-size pieces.
Many delicious foods are easy to eat and reduce the choking risk. Bite-sized food also reduces the risk of your kids dropping food or having over-packed sandwiches fall apart in their hands.
Don’t Overload Them
Many parents try to pack as much into their kids’ lunches as possible because they think that their children will get plenty to eat even if they don’t eat it all. While this sounds like a good idea, it can overload their senses and it might combine aromas that don’t work, which could put your child off their food.
It’s best to keep it simple and stick to food that you know your child enjoys. Sandwiches or wraps with something sweet and something healthy is a great combination that will give your child the energy they need to get through the rest of the day while still being hungry when dinner time comes around.
Practice The Routine At Home
If your child is still having problems eating their lunch despite plenty of encouragement from you, school faculty, and even their friends, you can make them more comfortable by practicing the routine at home.
Some kids are just shy about eating, or they might prefer to forgo lunch because they want to play with their friends. You need to show them why lunch is so important, so recreate the lunchtime environment at home (as much as you can), to get them more familiar with sitting down and eating.
Give Them Something to Look Forward To
Parents can make the lunchtime experience fun by giving their kids a surprise when they open their lunch boxes. Many parents do this for kids starting school for the first time, and it quickly becomes a tradition.
Check out these lunch box note ideas to hide in your child;’s lunch box so they know you are thinking of them. Once they know you will do this every day, they’ll look forward to their lunch.
Most children are happy to get to lunchtime so they can fill up on whatever their lunch box or the cafeteria has to offer and spend some time with friends. Not all kids look forward to lunch, though, so these tips can be highly beneficial for encouraging those who struggle to eat and finish their meal so they can carry on with their day.