Should schools allow eating in lessons?
My letter published in The Times on Saturday was in reaction to an article which advocated that children should be allowed to graze all day and eat in lessons.
Acknowledging that calorie laden snacks such as crisps and chocolate would not help children retain a healthy weight boiled eggs and tuna were suggested to satisfy hunger. I agreed with the original article in that children should have a healthy breakfast as this has been shown to aid concentration levels. I agree that sometimes breakfast is eaten very early because of journey time to school. I agree that break in some schools is a long time from breakfast. However, I do not agree with allowing children to munch throughout lessons and there are several reasons why.
There is the practical consideration that food is messy and at times smelly. It is unpleasant for fellow classmates to suffer sticky, greasy tables and a lingering odour. It is also creating bad habits. Most work places could not allow constant nibbling. It is unhealthy to be eating extra calories and even fruit which is considered to be on the healthy spectrum is sugar heavy.
However, it should be emphasised that children do need to make time for a good breakfast that sustains them and have a snack for break to keep them going until lunchtime. Those that have long journeys home may also need a little extra to prevent them feeling too hungry before their evening meal. It is possibly easier to make sure small children eat regularly and well but the older girls may swap time to eat breakfast with more minutes in bed, finishing last minute homework or getting ready. It is important that a good routine, following the summer holiday relaxation, is established. Please encourage your daughter to make time to eat breakfast. Some would say it is the most important meal of the day.