My Kid Won't Eat His Lunch

Cynthia Dermody
toddler with plate of spaghetti

Photo by LelandsMommy

My son is doing so well in first grade -- he's excelling at math, improving steadily on his penmanship, and reading so much that he's literally eating books. Now if only I could get him to eat his lunch. This is a kid, who when he is home, has to protein load to body builder proportions every two hours or he wilts like a flower.

He only gets two chances to eat during his 6 1/2 hour school day -- lunch and an afternoon snack -- yet most of the time his quarter-eaten and barely recognizable sandwich and partially nibbled on snack still greet me in his backpack at the end of the day.

When I suggested to his to teacher to give him a little prompting at the lunch table, she said, "Oh, no, we don't do that in first grade. You have to convince him to eat on his own."

I know exactly what the problem is. His mouth is moving too fast talking about Bakugans, soccer, and Transformers that there's no room for food. By the time he settles in to eat, lunch time is over and it's time to pack up and get back to class.

By the time he gets home in the afternoon, he's the Tasmanian Devil. He's so hungry and grumpy that it's impossible to even talk to him.

A mom in Answers was saying she has lunch with her first grader at school. I love that idea. For some reason, I don't think that's permissible in our school since the whole class eats together. Plus, I'm not sure my son would be keen on it, though he does still let me hold his hand in public at times. Knowing him, he'd probably get so used to me being there that he wouldn't be able to eat lunch without me, then I'd have a whole other problem to deal with.

justanotherjen in an Answers thread about grade-schoolers not eating their lunches helped me realize this is one of those situations where I have to let my child solve one on his own.

"You can't make them eat and you can't control what he does while he is at school. He has to learn to eat or realize he will be hungry all day. He'll figure it out. Just keep packing things he likes."

Does your grade-schooler, tween or teen have trouble eating lunch at school?


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