Give kids longer time to eat lunch!
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You're outside waiting for your children to get off the bus. The bus arrives, they come bounding out and the first thing you hear is "I'M HUNGRY!!". They are upset, "starving" and they want multiple snacks. You ask the same question you ask every day, "did you eat lunch?". Their response: "I didn't have enough time and I had to throw it away."
Does this sound familiar? Lunch time is the frustrating issue for many elementary school parents right now. The younger the child, the more time it might take for them to eat. At one school, the current schedule is 20 minutes of recess and 20 minutes for lunch. A lot of the surrounding area elementary schools are the same. The younger children, however, spend the last 2-5 minutes cleaning up. That takes lunch time down to 15 minutes. The children that have to buy a lunch spends an average of 3-5 minutes in line... That takes their allowed time to eat down to around 10 minutes! This is not fair nor enough time, especially to the kindergartners still learning routine and schedule.
Teachers do allow one to two snack breaks per day. However, parents are finding they must pack enough food for almost 2 separate lunches to make up for the lost lunch time; kids are begging teachers to let them eat their sandwiches instead of a light, healthy snack. Teachers are getting emails in regards to this and have to tell them the same thing, "start packing a lunch instead of buying" and "pack more snacks."
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Walled Lake Consolidated School District. I went there from elementary school to high school and I want my kids to do the same. This is not so much a problem with the school or district itself; This is a problem in our state and many states across the U.S.
What we should consider- "The legislature in Michigan should build upon the Model Local Wellness Policy from 2005 and introduce legislation to clearly define “adequate” eating time as a minimum of 10 seated minutes at breakfast and 20 seated minutes at lunch and further require these minimums be set for schools state-wide. Lengthening meal periods will support current nutritional programs and obesity-reducing policies, creating a healthier environment and future for Michigan’s children." Kiessling, Karalyn. (2017, December 8). Mandated Minimum Lunch Time in Schools: A Viable Policy Approach to Address Obesity in Michigan. http://mjpa.umich.edu/2017/12/08/mandated-minimum-lunch-time-in-schools-a-viable-policy-approach-to-address-obesity-in-michigan/
From the CDC, to help students have enough to eat, schools can- "Schedule lunch periods that are longer than 20 minutes to account for the time it takes students to get to the cafeteria (or other location where the meal is served), wait in line, pay for lunch, find a place to sit, socialize with friends, and eat the meal. Some studies suggest that a 30-minute lunch period allows students to have the recommended 20 minutes of seat time." https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/school_lunch.htm?fbclid=IwAR36cBUYdOqtXupg1xWThBBTbaKNHRWM9O-CNyqD_6GsVLUuAd2xmF7d3ac
What we are calling for Walled Lake Consolidated School District to do:
1. To give students an "adequate time for lunch AND define what an "adequate" amount of time for lunch is. (NOTE: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students get at least 20 minutes for lunch. But that means 20 minutes to actually sit down and eat — excluding time waiting in line or walking from class to cafeteria. Refer to: http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/game-on/find-challenges/cafeteria-challenges/1435-time-to-eat )
2. Extend lunch to at LEAST 30 minutes.
Check out our article in the Detroit Free Press: https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2019/10/23/school-lunch-periods-parent-advocacy/4052610002/
Our story on WXYZ Channel 7 news: https://www.wxyz.com/news/metro-detroit-mom-raises-lunch-time-debate-says-20-minutes-isnt-enough-for-kids-to-eat
Our article in The Spinal Column: https://www.spinalcolumnonline.com/articles/mom-is-fed-up-with-kids-coming-home-hungry/
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