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There are children who are inappetent or who generally eat poorly at home who, however, become good eaters, as if by magic when they eat at school. Many parents do not understand and are sometimes offended, because children prefer school menus to those that they prepare with love and dedication at home.
The psychologist Silvia Álava explains why this attitude in children and how it is possible that it is such a general attitude in children.
Is it true that when a child does not eat, it is best to let him eat at school?
Leaving a child to eat at school because he does not eat well at home is a basic error. In the education of children, the parents are responsible and teaching them to eat is the task of the parents. Children have to learn to eat from a young age before going to school and at school, in which case, they can reinforce certain behaviors. But it is not worth leaving all education to school.
Is it recommended that the child eat in the school dining room as a punishment?
We cannot threaten or punish a child by saying that if you do not eat well, you will go to the school cafeteria, because we do not know if at a certain moment we will have to let him eat in the cafeteria due to a problem of incompatibility of schedules or other issues.
Experience shows that some children eat better at school. Why?
Psychologists find many cases of children who eat much better at school than at home. In fact, when we work with children who have problems with food, the main source of problems is dinner, since the food is made at school. In the dining room, children do much better because, in the presence of other children and caregivers, they think 'I'm not going to be the only one who doesn't eat'.
In addition, at school the usual dynamic is that there is a set time to eat and, when time is up, we go to the playground. If the child has not finished, he stays finishing eating and does not go out to the patio with the others. This pattern helps them learn to eat in the prescribed time. Then it is time to have dinner at home with their parents and since we do not reproduce the same situations and they know that, in the end, parents tend to be softer and they will give in, they do not behave as in school.
Food is not changed at school, at home many times yes. It is important not to change it, the child has to see that there is one. Although it may be easier for a mother, if something does not like the child, doing something else, that is not optimal learning. The child must learn that what is on the plate is eaten, how much is on the plate and that the food is not changed. Although it is very easy to change food, let's not really change it.
Why do some children also behave better at school than at home at lunchtime?
By the way of handling the problem. If certain behaviors such as eating with your hands, throwing bread crumbs at classmates, fighting with the child in front of you or next door are not allowed at school, we should not allow it at home either. Parents should tell children 'if you do this, we will not eat with you or you will have dinner alone'. At school, there are also times, and at home we must set those times and, depending on the child's problem, assess whether we already take the food away and it is over or he is left alone until he finishes eating it without paying any attention.
Parents are responsible for the education of their children and by being assertive and calm they can do much to improve their children's meals and dinners.
You can read more articles similar to Why children eat better at school, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.