Help Your Kindergarten Get Ready for School Lunch
School starts, and for many kindergartens, one of the biggest changes they face is lunch time. The lunchtime routine in kindergarten is not like at home, in kindergarten or in preschool: they have less time to unpack and eat, and at the beginning of school many children get confused, do not eat, and spend the rest of the day hungry and irritable. Solution? Practice school lunch at home.
To start home fake dinner sessions, set aside a couple of 20-minute periods when you know your child is going to be a little hungry, but not yet hungry. Tell them what you do in your best fun way to get them involved. Put on your silly glasses, grab a notebook and speak in a funny pedagogical voice. Your goal is to try to make this scenario as realistic as possible, yet safe, so that they feel comfortable enough on the first day to enjoy a meal at lunchtime and keep their game great all day.
Many babies are only given 20 minutes to eat, so it is very important that they can make the most of that time for their empty belly. Setting a timer is the easiest way to get ready for a new routine. Set aside 15 minutes to get started, and if it’s really too difficult, give it another five. The reality is that pupils will spend at least five minutes chatting, melting, or throwing paper airplanes instead of eating, so a 15-minute timer will set them up for success if they can eat at least something nutritious and rehydrate before eating. it will work. …
Prioritize Good Things
Another key part of this exercise is to help new learners understand that even if they don’t finish their food, everything is fine. Some children will worry that they will not be able to do it at lunch and think they might get into trouble or, worse, starve. Reassure them that it’s okay when you’re in a rush and can’t eat everything, and see what they can do to eat a full meal, even if it’s small. In other words, save the oatmeal cookies until after they have eaten at least half of the bagel and fruit or bean salad first.
Teach them nutrition
This is a great opportunity to talk about self-care, nutrition, and independence. As a rule, children are tuned in to autonomy at any age, so present this information as if it is really important for big children, and they will take it to heart: proteins will give them energy, help them build muscle and grow. Vegetables, especially colorful ones like carrots, peppers, and broccoli, sharpen their senses and fuel their brains, while fruits fill them with antioxidants that help fight any germs or viruses lurking in classrooms.
Make sure containers are child-friendly
Just as important as what they eat, how it is packaged and prepared, and I’m not talking about the representation of children with a smiley face tortilla. During practice lunches, give them the opportunity to practice opening and closing all the food containers you can collect for them, and try to keep things small or comfortable to hold in one small hand to save them time and hassle. If they have problems with containers or lids, ditch them and find something quick and easy to handle. This is another common problem in kindergarten at lunchtime, and teachers are too busy helping the whole class to open boxes, cans and zip bags.
Last but not least, use this time together to talk about your child’s expectations and concerns, and above all about the foods they like best to help them get through the first week or two. If they order tuna salad every day or Grandma’s five cheese ravioli, try to make that happen. Have them pick their main course and at least one fruit and one vegetarian side, and a special treat just for being a rock star. You can also plan and put together a weekly menu to make your life easier.