20 answers

Daughter Got Teased at Daycare for Being Different

I am a person of Indian descent and my daughter was born in the country. My daughter has been going to daycare for about 1.5 years and she had done very well. She has always been a picky eater and she likes to take this specific Indian dish made with rice. I have always been aware that kids might make fun of her because her food looks different than theirs. As a result I always ask her what she wants to take and till now taking that dish has never been an issue. We recently moved and she started going to this other daycare where she was pretty happy but she suddenly stopped eating lunch. I was concerend and after about 2 weeks of this going on she told me that the other kids make fun of her at lunch time because of her food. She has been very upset about this and is almost to the point where she does not want to eat lunch at daycare. I have no issues packing her sandwiches ( which she does not enjoy that much) but at the same time I want to address the issue of other kids teasing her and also treat this as a learning experience for her and me. I talked to her little bit about it and plan to talk to her teachers. In the meantime I am keeping her out of daycare for a couple of days.

ANy ideas on how to address this situation and what to say to her and her teachers would help a lot.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You can talk to the teachers. You say "daycare" so these kids are very young. They can interject a comment on there's nothing wrong with her rice and his baloney and her veggie soup.

I would also try to teach my child to be OK with herself - this is not the last time someone will point out something different. Maybe role play with her at home how to respond and not worry as much about the other kids' opinions (hard, I know).

The thing about life is you can't hide forever. You have to learn to face it. SOME kids may not like her lunch. Whatever. They don't have to eat it. Teach her to hold her head up high and be proud of her heritage. And, please, send her back to school and address it so that the other kids don't think they won over an easy target.

10 moms found this helpful

I would not keep her out of daycare! How old is she. Talk to the day care
providers. Depends on the age of kids to how it is handled.

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Hi NB,

What a good question. As a preschool teacher myself, I would want to know why your child wasn't eating lunch. If you told me what was behind it, here's what I would do:

I would use some books and literature which explains 'difference' in ways youngsters can understand. I would bring Rosemary Wells book, "Yoko", in which the title character brings her favorite food, sushi, to school and is confronted by children who make negative comments.

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/yoko

I would also invite you to make enough of your daughter's favorite dish and then to serve it at a snacktime. I'd also invite other families to bring a snack-sized portion of a healthy dish their family enjoys to share at snacktime too.

I would (and have) use Katie Kissinger's book "All the Colors We Are" which discusses the reason we look different: our parents, our ancestors, and the parts of the world our ancestors came from. One of the activities we do is to use tons of paint swatches to find our best match for each child's eye color, skin color, lip color, hair color... I let the child help find the best matches with a mirror, then we tape/glue the paint swatch onto a piece of paper and write the name of the swatch color--or a child's choice of name for the color-- onto the paper. Thus, children learn that we are *all* different shades of brown and that every color we are is lovely.

Lastly, I would give your child plenty of empathy and focus on the fact that some kids simply don't understand how wide and wonderful the world is. But do have her go back to school. Find commonalities as much as you can, when it's appropriate. We adults can understand that there is a human instinct to categorize/sort people and things by type, but kids can't appreciate that. Do let your child know that you like that she has a wide range of friends, and that she has something special in her life by having a culture that is rich in tradition, even if it isn't reflected back to her. Let her know, too, that only she can decide not to eat her favorite foods-- just because her daycare friends find sandwiches to be their favorite foods doesn't mean that she should stop eating *her* favorite food.

(and as a teacher, I would likely take the teasing child/ren aside and run a little 'empathy check'... "I noticed that you were teasing Suzy about her lunch today. Can you tell me about that? How do you think Suzy feels when you make that say that to her? Do you think that makes her feel happy or sad?" etc.

I hope this helps a little. I'm sorry you and your daughter are having to experience this. I am Caucasian but my adoptive father is Filipino... when I moved to the mainland from Honolulu, I was the only kid I knew who ate Kim Chi, lumpia and other delicious foods. I can relate-- it really, unfortunately, is a lack of exposure to other cultures.

16 moms found this helpful

You should talk to the teachers. This would be a wonderful learning experience for all the children you should set up a time to come in and share your culture and show the children how food your child and family prepare food at home to eat and share a protion with the students. The teacher can tie this into the lesson and have all the children share in some way their culture or just their way of eating at home. This will allow the student too learn that everyone does things differently and that it is ok. kids are gonna make fun of what they dont know. How old are these kids? The teachers should make this a unit to use in the classroom!
At a school I use to work at we use to do Christmas around the world and I absolutely loved it more than the kids did probably.

12 moms found this helpful

You can talk to the teachers. You say "daycare" so these kids are very young. They can interject a comment on there's nothing wrong with her rice and his baloney and her veggie soup.

I would also try to teach my child to be OK with herself - this is not the last time someone will point out something different. Maybe role play with her at home how to respond and not worry as much about the other kids' opinions (hard, I know).

The thing about life is you can't hide forever. You have to learn to face it. SOME kids may not like her lunch. Whatever. They don't have to eat it. Teach her to hold her head up high and be proud of her heritage. And, please, send her back to school and address it so that the other kids don't think they won over an easy target.

10 moms found this helpful

My son is a food guy. Meaning he often brought lots of 'strange' lunches in the beginning.

HE didn't change his lunches. Some other parents just thought it was a good idea to send dinner leftovers as 'lunch' as well.

And then, boy oh boy, did we start getting some really interesting lunches!! (Very diverse area).

But in the beginning...

His favorite food was broccoli. And he stopped eating it, because he got teased / everyone said it was 'yucky'. Fortunately his teachers and I had the same train of thought :

People like different things.

Some people don't like broccoli.
Some people don't like birthday cake.
Some people DO like broccoli.
Some people DO like birthday cake.

I can't tell you how much this has come in handy (the 'your lunch is yucky' situation).... Because peer pressure SINCE then (he's 10 now) has been almost nil.

People like different things.

I'm more concerned that the teachers haven't brought this up with you / aren't mediating it.

9 moms found this helpful

My mom made me peanut butter and banana sandwiches on wheat. Not only did I hate them but kids made fun of them.

You need to explain to your daughter that there is a difference between making fun of a food and making fun of a person.

After reading some of the responses I feel like I should explain. My daughter loves some pretty strange (reads to other kids) food. Sure the kids say what the heck is that!!! She tells them what it is and moves on. They say gross, she says it is good. She offers to let them try. The point is she knows it is the food and she also knows that everyone likes different foods, that doesn't reflect on who she is.

9 moms found this helpful

I would talk to the teachers. At this age, they should be fully aware of what the kids are doing at lunch time. It sounds like these kids need their horizons broadened a bit. Perhaps for snack, the teachers could ask ALL the families to bring in a snack (when it is their turn) with some sort of ethnic/cultural significance. If not - the teachers should be discussing differences and diversity with the kids in an age appropriate way - on a regular basis.

9 moms found this helpful

I feel you do need to talk to the teachers about this....

I would pose it as a question...

"Did you realize that the other children are making fun of my daughter because of the lunch she brings? It is affecting her so much, that she doesn't even want to eat lunch at daycare."

Ask them how they plan to address it....

I wonder if they could sponsor a "culture" day... and make a point of talking about all the countries that different people/races in the community may have first come from... not pointing at any particular student, unless there are a lot of international families in the daycare, but to just point out that even if a family has lived in the US for several generations, their parents ALSO came from another country (unless they are Native Americans).

Maybe make an assignment to all of the kids to find out a bit of their family heritage to share.

8 moms found this helpful

I would certainly talk with her teachers. I have had kiddos of different ethnic backgrounds in my care and once in a while someone will ask me why "Jill" is brown or whatever. We talk about how all of us are different, hair, eyes, skin color, size, etc. We also talk about how boring our world would be if everyone was the same.

The teachers could also talk about how every family has different favorite foods, some like just vegetables, some eat a lot of chicken but not a lot of beef... They just need to share that "Susie brings her favorite dish". They could really bring this up while talking about nutrition and different types of food and have all the kiddos talk about their own favorite food.

No one wants to feel that thier child is being picked on or belittled in anyway. Good Luck!

M.

7 moms found this helpful

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