38 answers

School Snacks

My son is in 3rd grade and their grade gets lunch at 1:30. They currently have no snack time set aside for these kids. On the first day of school I sent a nice note to the teacher requesting that the kids be allowed a snack time as from 8:40 - 1:30 is a long time for kids between meals, and add to that the fact that I leave for work at 7:15 so my son gets breakfast at around 6:45 ish as do many kids in his grade because their parents work. According to him he is "so hungry he could eat an elephant" and from experience I know how his focus and behavior is when he is that hungry. Anyway, the response to my letter is that "snack time would be disruptive to the schedule and could be "problematic" for the kids who don't bring snack. I plan on taking this beyond the 3rd grade team and to the administration if I have to. Every other public elementary school in my county gets a snack except for ours and there don't appear to be any problems with it and my husband subs in the schools and sees how it works. My son told me on Thursday that he overheard one of the teachers say that "there never was a snack time for these kids and never will be" so I know we will probably have to fight for a snack time as they don't seem to want to work with us and I do have many parents on my side who are writing to request snack as well. Could you please give my ideas as to how snack times work at your childs school and if there are any problems with it. I would like to be able to provide some solutions to the teachers when I next communicate with them. Thanks for all your help.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I just want to say that any school that doesn't allow young children to eat between 7.30 and 1.30 is not only being educationally unsound, but almost cruel. I'm sorry that you have to fight for this, and I tend to be non-confrontational with school admins (as a teacher, I know they work hard) but I would take this all the way to the top if I had to.

2 moms found this helpful

You have gotten great advice so far. I would add that you might want to bring a note from the doctor letting the principal know the medical reasons why a child @ this age needs to have a snack and especially water.
L. M

1 mom found this helpful

Do not meet with the teacher since they don't make the final decisions, the principal does. Set up a meeting with him/her and discuss this with them and if they don't give you an answer that is at least working towards a solution then I would go to the administrative offices for the schools to discuss it with them there. Go to the superintendent if you have to. Someone will listen to you then, the squeaky wheel gets the grease in my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I have a Mom friend, whoes kids are now in college, but when they were in kindergarten they had "food" issues, and also needed naps. Kindergarten was full day at our local catholic school back then. So she requested a half day accomodation. The school never answered the request one way or another. So on the third week of kindergarten she sent her son. (Please note this Mom is a graduate of the school.) Then at 11:30 she just showed up to pick him up. She did this for three or four days, and then someone finally said she couldn't keep doing this. She said, now you are finally giving me an answer to my request! Can I get it in writting? They then backed off and gave her permission to do it everyday.

My suggested is this:

1. write a note to the Principal, and ask for a reply in 10 days (cc the teachers) If you can get a note from your pediatrician supporting your claim include a copy.

2. While your waiting for a reply, show up every day at roughly the same time, with as many Mom as you can, and bring your child a snack. (Claim your there for a "doctor" appointment. Take him outside do the snack and then return him.) For Mom's that work, send in a note so a non-working Mom who agrees to help can have permission to take your child to the "doctors appointment."

3. If the 10 days lapses and you have no reply, or the answer is no. Write directly to the superintended, and "cc" the school board. Sending copies of what you sent to the teachers and any reply you recieved. Include a list or number count of all the parents who have started showing up to give their child snack. In this letter stated that you are formally requesting a 504 plan (This refers to section 504 of the Rehabilitiation Act of 1975, it will cause the school stress if you say this.) for you son, because "going this long without food impairs his ability to learn."

4. While you keep going and giving him snack (or maybe stage a "sick day" and have a bunch of Mom's keep their kid home on the same day). They may try to stop you, but you have every right to pick your child up in the middle of the day, particularly if you have the doctor's note supporting his need for a snack.

5. I would also consider contacting a local news outlet, the newspaper, TV or radio, and inviting them to join you all for snack. The school will not like the negative publicity. Also the reporter could call the school to get their side of the problem, which will get someone's attention.

Good Luck! You are very right about the need for snack, and if you don't fight for it, it will be a matter of time before the school will try to say your son has ADHD because he cannot pay attention and do his work. The guy is just hungry. Good Luck!

3 moms found this helpful

I would go to the principal next. At our school they are also allowed to have water bottles. It has been proven that when kids are hungry and dehydrated (considering they go most of the day with little to drink) test scores are lower. I have never heard of such a late lunch. Don't they think kids get low blood sugars? It isn't disruptive nor is it an issue for the other kids who don't bring one, they just don't make a big deal out of it.

2 moms found this helpful

Check your local school code regarding meals. You could also threaten going to the local papers. Quote nutrition and educational articles regard focus and snacks and meals for children. Also send copies to your school board members as well as the principal and ask the other parents to do the same. Good Luck this is a fight worth having.
J. O

2 moms found this helpful

I just want to say that any school that doesn't allow young children to eat between 7.30 and 1.30 is not only being educationally unsound, but almost cruel. I'm sorry that you have to fight for this, and I tend to be non-confrontational with school admins (as a teacher, I know they work hard) but I would take this all the way to the top if I had to.

2 moms found this helpful

When my daugther was in second grade (several years ago) we had a similar situation. Her class's lunch was very late and, while they did permit snack time, there were many lower income kids who didn't have one and I was very upset that these children were hungry as well and had to watch others eating (even though my daughter did have her snack everyday). I volunteered to go to Costco and get a big barrel of pretzels and a large container of graham crackers for the classroom and asked that the teacher please pass them out at snack time to those who didn't have anything. A few other parents joined me and it really wasn't a major cost for us, since the supplies lasted several weeks and I knew all the children were able to get a little boost during those long hours. The real challenge may be getting your school to allow the snacks at all. Food allergies are so prevalent now that there may be issues with gluten, peanuts etc. However they really shouldn't expect young children to go that long without eating. They can't possibly be learning anything when all they can think about are their growling tummies. Maybe they could cut back on recess or a special just by 10 minutes to allow them to grab a quick snack. Another suggestion would be for parents to take turns volunteering for just 15 minute or so each morning to help get things over quickly, neatly and without major transition problems.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi C.,

I would DEFINITELY take it to the next level!!! I taught fourth grade, and we had last lunch - about the same timing as your son. There are many easy ways for a teacher to work snack into the schedule. And as far as snacks for kids that don't bring one, the teacher can purchase a large tin/barrel etc. of animal crackers for around five dollars. It ends up lasting an extremely long time, because the kids that did not bring snack, simply take something out of their lunch to eat at snack time, so kids w/o snack are very few, if any.

I cannot believe the teacher will not listen to your suggestion. I liked having snack when I taught - we called it a working snack (like a working lunch in an office) and the kids did their journal writing as they ate. When journal time was over, snack was over. AND the best part was, I got to eat a snack too - that is a long time to wait for lunch for an adult too!!

Good luck! As a teacher, I would say that going to the next level is acceptable because you asked the teacher first. You are not going over her head because you addressed it with her first. You are doing the right thing! This schedule is not something the kids 'adjust to'. It is too long of a time period before lunch - simple as that.

Let us know how it goes,

2 moms found this helpful

My son goes to a Catholic school with preschool through 8th grade. All of the kids are encouraged to bring a healthy snack and water every day and they eat it during a morning class or work time. He starts at 8 and has lunch at 11:40 and they still manage to fit in the snack. They just bring in something simple like cereal bars or granola bars or a little baggie of fruit, etc. The parents take turns sending boxes of crackers or pretzels to keep in the classroom for the children that might forget their snacks once in a while.

It just seems to be common sense that children would be more productive if they are not starving--especially with the long time your son's class has to wait for lunch. I would be shaking waiting that long. Possibly talk to the other schools in your county with the snack time in place and find out how they got it passed. I love the media idea, also!!

Good for you for being a child advocate!!

2 moms found this helpful

1:30pm is sooooooooo long for a little one to wait until lunch without having had a snack............. not to mention, any good teacher would have brains enough to know that kids do better when they have been fed and hydrated....
this needs to be taken a step up... you are probably not the only parent concerned... my child needs something about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours in order for him to keep his energy up and so that by dinner he isn't famished......
kid's brains , let alone bodies are developing at this age and people may forget that "growing" takes calories.............. also, worst than not enough food when your body so needs it is WATER.. some kids already don't get enough of it... it's the body's gasoline.... to deprive kids a snack time is crazy...... I would definitely talk to admin..
best of luck!!

2 moms found this helpful

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