When it comes to food, kids can be notoriously picky eaters. For many parents, getting kids to eat lunch at school each day is a challenge, without the added difficulty of teachers weighing in on what children should and should be allowed to eat.
While it might surprise you, lunch shaming has become a problem in some cafeterias around the country. After sending her 4-year-old daughter to school with Oreos in April, a Colorado mum received a chastising note from the school explaining what constituted an appropriate lunch, ABC 7 reported. Her daughter had not been allowed to eat the cookies.
In North Carolina, a preschooler’s lunch consisting of a “turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice,” was deemed unhealthy and the student was forced to order cafeteria food instead, the Carolina Journal reported in 2012.
To combat any potential lunch shaming, clinicians Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin of the New York Times parenting Blog “Motherlode” have proposed a solution: lunchbox cards.
Here’s how the cards work.
Parents send their children to school with a packed lunch and an instructional card. If a teacher makes any comment regarding a child’s lunch, the child is to hand the card to their teacher, which instructs them to leave the child alone and contact the parent with any questions.
Here’s what Rowell and McGlothlin suggest writing on the lunchbox card:
Dear [teacher’s name], Please don’t ask [child’s name] to eat more or different foods than she/he wants. Please let her eat as much as she wants of any of the foods I pack, in any order, even if she eats nothing or only dessert. If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at [phone number]. Thank you.
On Twitter, several parents have already weighed in about the lunchbox card idea, after reading about it on popular parenting blog, Scary Mummy.
Some seem excited to try the card method with their kids.
While others said they have had trouble with lunchbox cards in the past.
Whether or not the cards are effective, there does seem to be agreement online about one thing. Oreos, in moderation, certainly have a place in the lunchroom.
“Parents can and should advocate for their child and serve the foods they want to serve. And the school staff should leave the Oreos where they find them,” Rowell and McGlothlin conclude in the blog post.
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