3 year old kicked out of daycare for not eating lunch - FamilyEducation
3 year old kicked out of daycare for not eating lunch
12/10/2010 at 11:14 AM

For the last 3 months my 3 1/2 year old has been refuing to eat lunch at daycare on and off. I have been very supportive of our provider in however she sees fit to deal with the situation. We are stricked at home that everyone sits at the table for meals and you have to take a bite of everything for however many years old you are --ie 3 bites for being 3 years old. We have some issues with her at the table but nothing to extream for being 3. Last night we got a ltter from our provider stating she will no longer cook for our child and we will need to feed her breakfeast before dropping her off and pack her a lunch everyday or find different daycare. Not only do we need to pack her a lunch but we have to pack certain things on a list she gave us. Is this really appropriate?? I do not blame her for being frustrated I just wish she would have told us we had 2 weeks to fix it or we would have to find other options. Any ideas of how to deal with this.

Thank you for your advice--esp. those in child care.

I was a child care provider until about 5 years ago. I think you'd be wise to find other care ASAP. I think that your current provider has serious control issues and you are lucky to find out about it now. Since there is a written ultimatum--send a lunch or find other care, I'd say that the provider has terminated your contract. If you pay in advance, request a refund. If you don't pay in advance, pay her up through yesterday--or today if you send your child today, thank her for bringing this problem to your attention, and don't ever go back. (You don't have to say that the problem is her control issue.) It sounds like you've already taught your child to be polite at the table. Reinforce that refusing food is done this way, "No thank you" and not this way, "That's gross. It's yucky. I hate it."

I agree wholeheartedly with all that. I do not like the sound of this person. We often have problems with children's eating in our nursery but never make an issue of it. We do not force a child to eat anything he or she doesn't want as it only makes it a bigger issue. If your child is hungry she will eat. I am not against the idea of providing a packed meal for your child as it might work. You know your child better than anyone else and know what she likes to eat. This provider has no business telling you what you should give her. Where I work we consider our parents wishes and work with them to provide the best for their child. I am in Britain so don't know how providers over in the States are controlled but I would advise you talk to someone in authority about it and perhaps report it. She needs to be checked out.

I think in all fairness I should be clear that the requirements for her lunch would be one starch - one meat- one fruit/vegitable and a milk-- than it stated-no cookies, chips or junk food. We have always had great experiances with her and so have our children- this was such a shock because I would have never guessed she would handle this in this way. I am hoping to meet and talk with her and discuss better options to deal with the situation. I have always felt that food is not a good issue to push with little ones because I feel it is counter productive but I understand that when you have 10 kids you have to set some rules or it would be a mess. Thank you for insight- it makes me feel better knowing I am justified for feeling a little taken back.

I can understand the request that there be no junk food--other kids would say it wasn't fair that your child got a treat when they don't. If she is part of the USDA program, she is required to offer food, but the children are not required to eat it. It could be that others are not eating and your child is seen as the cause, but what junieg said is true. Children will eat when they are hungry. When I provided day care I served the food. When they seemed to be finished eating, I cleared away. There was no hectoring. There was also a lot of food wasted,I was required to offer what the USDA deemed as sufficient amounts. I did monitor what they ate, but only so I could report to the parents if there was a problem. There was one little boy with sensory issues. I ground up his food, gradually providing coarser textures until he was able to eat table food. Also in our state, there must be one adult for 4 infants or for 8 toddler and up. It sounds like she is understaffed.

In our nursery the ratio is 1:3 under 2's. 1:5 for two's and 1:8 for 4, 5 year olds. If she has ten children, how much help does she get. Surely she can't be looking after ten by herself. In retrospect, what she is saying about the requirements of the packed meal are realistic, but probably what you or anyone with common sense would give their child anyway. Some of our children have nursery lunches, some packed meals. If a child does have something inappropriate in their lunch box [this very rarely happens] we would leave it in their box and perhaps if they needed something to supplement it, we would give them some fruit or whatever else we felt an appropriate substitute.Some children eat very little but we just remove their plates when they indicate they are finished and make no fuss. Children sometimes use meal times as a way of getting negative attention. I hope you have a chance to discuss this all with her