s/o: do you go to your child's school for lunch? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-17-2007, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I read in another thread about parents having lunch with their kids at school. This was the first I've heard of this practice... they didn't do it at my school growing up and none of my friends with kids have ever mentioned doing this (my kids aren't school aged yet).

Is this a common practice nowadays? Do schools encourage this? In all grades or just the youngest kids?

Is it done more for the child's benefit or the parent's?

Just curious, as I haven't heard of this before!
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:33 PM
 
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I haven't heard it before either, so you're not the only one. My DD is only 2 so the only experience I have is from when I was in elementary school, 20 years ago. Back then, they allowed parents to eat with their children but only for holidays (Thanksgiving lunch, for example). They cited that it was too disruptive to have parents in there all the time and that many children who would otherwise be well-behaved, got too disruptive in the afternoon.

So I'm with you. . I'd like to hear more about how it's done these days!

Mama to Boy (2) and Girl (5)
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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As far as I know it's not done at dd's school (she just started K), but there is no lunch room or common lunch area, so the kids eat lunch in their classroom. I think this would be way too disruptive and there wouldn't be anywhere for the parents to sit anyway!
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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I go in about once or twice a month and have lunch with my first grader. I used to buy the school lunches, but I've wised up and now I bring a salad with me! I either wait in the hall outside his class a few minutes before lunch, or I just meet the class in the cafeteria. I sit with my child and quiz all the classmates sitting near us (name? age? serial number? - I mean, name? when's your birthday? who plays soccer? what your favorite part of school? etc.).

His class has recess right after lunch so I'll stay for that and push the kids on the swings or watch them show off on the monkey bars.

It's a nice way to meet his classmates, see who he is friends with, and learn about what the kids are interested in (they all seem to be addicted to Webkinz). I don't see how it would be disruptive since I'm not in the classroom during instruction time. I think it can be helpful - I open milk cartons and mop up spills, etc. My DSs seemed to like having me visit, so I try to go when I can.

Tanya
Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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Our school doesn't do it. I've never heard of it before.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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My school used to. Once a month or so all the parents were supposed to come and have lunch with their kids. I remember it being very exciting when I was younger and not so much as I got older.

My son goes to that same school and I haven't heard anything about it yet so I'm not sure if they still have it or not.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:34 PM
 
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Thanks for reminding me. Now that DD is in preschool 2 mornings a week, I have been wanting to go see DS for lunch. He really likes it when I come and w/o the busy toddler, I will enjoy it much more.

I never realized it was something you could just do. I went a couple times last year when there was an activity (like lunch then a party or something) but then I realized that just doing random lunches was pretty popular. Our school is definitely laid back about that kind of thing.

Hopefully I can get in there one day next week.

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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all the schools here encourage it...

i only have one weekday off of work, so i alternate kids. jordan's teacher has planning time right before lunch on thursday, so it's perfect...i can touch base with her about jordan, and then join my kiddo for lunch. i just bring myself a bag lunch, as i'm not paying for their stuff.

my kids love it...and the class that has the most parent lunches gets a prize, usually.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:25 PM
 
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I think it sounds great! If we send Owen to school in first grade (instead of homeschooling) I would definitely look for a school that was okay with this.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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If my kids went to school I would not go to their lunches. I think I would have died of embarrassment if my mom did that to me when I was a kid.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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Old 09-17-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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If my kids went to school I would not go to their lunches. I think I would have died of embarrassment if my mom did that to me when I was a kid.
if my children didn't want me to come, i wouldn't do so.

the kids seem to act like celebrities...they feel very special when their parents show up.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:18 AM
 
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I've never heard of that around here. I guess if the school encouraged/supported it, I might go, but never really thought about it.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:10 AM
 
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I've never heard of that before! here a parent can come and sign their child out for lunch - like at Wendy's or Mcdonalds -but they have to finish the meal before coming back and parents can't just come intot he schoola nd eat lunch there at the school. I have never heard of that before and it seems like it would be disruptive - but here the kids eat at their desks in their classroom and then go out to play on the playground when they are done. Of course I also wouldn't be able to anyway because of the twins and I'm usually at work now anyway - but it's just not something that's done at my kids school.

single mama to 5 (12.5, 11, 10, and 8 year old twins)

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Old 09-18-2007, 07:42 AM
 
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It is not done here either. I went once because it was my dd's birthday and we cut the cake and celebrated. However, she was soo miserable when I left (she was 4 at the time and never cried in the morning at drop off) that I decided never again. Birthdays are usually celebrated at the end of classes in the afternoon. I did that several times with both girls and it was always fun. Lunch is not compulsory at the school. So you can perfectly well take your kid out for lunch and take him/her back when classes start, but no, you cannot just go and eat with the class. I really think that for little ones, it may be disruptive.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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our kids go to private school and the cafeteria is staffed by volunteers. I usually do sit down with one of the kids for a few minutes when I take a break but I'm mostly busy working.

We have parent/child lunch days but other than that it's not as common for parents to come and have lunch.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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I eat lunch w/my dd on occasion. Usually when I am in the school volunteering I'll have lunch and recess w/her. I also just drop by every now and then and have lunch. My dd loves it and the school doesn't mind.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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You can here. It's in the handbook (elementary school) that parents are encouraged to come in and have lunch with their kids- just to let the cafeteria know in the morning if you'll be buying.
I don't remember it ever happening when i was in school.

Monther of Riley (11), Andrew (4) and Victoria (7 months)
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:47 PM
 
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we have it at our school - they really encourage it & the kids love it. you can sit with your kids' class OR at a special table - since I have twins in 2 different classes if I go we do the special table thing.

they also have "bring a special person to lunch" day and a special fathers' lunch and mothers' lunch 1 or 2 times a year.

It's usually my dh that ends up doing it because I work during their lunch time. he has off 2 weekdays a week (never off on the weekends)

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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Old 09-18-2007, 03:34 PM
 
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I've worked in a few elementary schools over the last 10 or so years. I think it is a pretty new thing. None of the schools I worked in early on offered it. Some schools had special days for it (like once a month per grade), other schools it was more of free for all. Parents came when they could as often as they wanted.

I don't ever recall hearing a teacher complain about it.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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My DD's school has a courtyard area with picnic tables. Parents (Grandparents, Aunts, uncles...) can come have lunch with thier kids. They have to sit in the courtyard area though. A friend from your child's class can join you if they have a note from their parent.

I've had lunch with my DD a bunch of times. She loves it. I love to hear about the first half of her day. At pick up she usually only tells me about things that happened in the afternoon!

I volunteer at the school so I frequently stay to have lunch with her. IF I'm there close to lunchtime. I work from home and I am 4 minutes from the school so when she asks, I really try to make it work to have lunch with her.

Daddy had a meeting near school a couple of weeks ago and had lunch with. That was a huge deal for her. Guess I'm boring
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm. Interesting.

My initial reaction is to wonder how that works out parity wise, I mean there are probably going to be some kids whose parent(s) show up all the time for lunch, and then there will be the kids whose parent(s) never once come to lunch.

Wonder how that works out for the kids? Obviously, some parents will never be able to make it, due to work or other commitments. But do young children really understand why some parents can always be there while theirs are not?

Also curious if it adds at all to the pecking order amongst parents? Is it implied that one is a "better" mom if one shows up for lunch on a regular basis? Do other moms take note of who shows up and when? (My reading on MDC indicates yes!) Does it get competitive at your school? Do you feel differently about your child's peers and there parents based on what you see at lunch?
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Also curious if it adds at all to the pecking order amongst parents? Is it implied that one is a "better" mom if one shows up for lunch on a regular basis? Do other moms take note of who shows up and when? (My reading on MDC indicates yes!) Does it get competitive at your school? Do you feel differently about your child's peers and there parents based on what you see at lunch?
I never gave it a thought if other parents came and ate lunch or not. Actually I look to see other parents b/c then I don't feel out of place or that I am doing something unusual. I also don't think it is a competitive thing at all at my dd's school. And the kids in my dd's class, get excited just to see any parent, even if it is not theirs.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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I've been thinking about what ChinaKat asked since yesterday and here are my thoughts. I think that lunch with students just gives parents another opportunity to interect with their children. I know parents who work odd schedules where they miss dinner with their kids but can come to the school for lunch. Or families where there is a new baby at home so one of the parents comes in for some special time with their child.

I certainly don't know and don't care which moms have lunch with their kids and which don't. Just cause I come in on a Tues, for example, does not mean Mom X was not there on Monday, ykwim? I really don't think that it plays a factor in any mom pecking order. At least at our school.

Regarding whether young children understand why some parents come and some don't. I dunno. I think that there are always going to be things that work for some families and not others. My DD often expresses her extreme dissappointment with being unable to attend Extended Day with her 2 best friends. Does she understand or care that I looked for years for a job where I could work at home and gave up other career opportunities so I could pick her up at school at 2:00? Nope. She just wants to play with her friends.

As far as competition between moms at school...over lunch, no...there are far too many other things to be competitive about. :

Sure, there are some moms (and dads) who volunteer at the school all the time. I really don't think that they are in a race to be the best mom though. Most of the moms who I know that volunteer often at the school feel lucky to be in the position where they can help out and want to give back by helping out. I try to not place judgement on others regarding volunteering at school because who am I to presume to know what is going on in someone else's life and schedule.

For me, I help out often not only because it is important to me to volunteer but also to fill up my days. We have been TTC for 3 yrs. I have one child. I need to keep busy or I will get depressed over not having a baby.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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I go in sometimes and eat lunch with my kids. They like it, and i like chatting with them and their friends.

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Sure, there are some moms (and dads) who volunteer at the school all the time. I really don't think that they are in a race to be the best mom though. Most of the moms who I know that volunteer often at the school feel lucky to be in the position where they can help out and want to give back by helping out. I try to not place judgement on others regarding volunteering at school because who am I to presume to know what is going on in someone else's life and schedule. .
Going a little OT here but I never judge other people for how much they volunteer or whether or not they do at all. I can and I enjoy it, so I do.
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:57 PM
 
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[QUOTE][Also curious if it adds at all to the pecking order amongst parents? Is it implied that one is a "better" mom if one shows up for lunch on a regular basis? Do other moms take note of who shows up and when? (My reading on MDC indicates yes!) Does it get competitive at your school? Do you feel differently about your child's peers and there parents based on what you see at lunch?/QUOTE]

Why yes! Of course the best moms are the moms who come to lunch. If you don't well

Seriously, a parent who goes in to lunch only knows if another parent happens to go in on the same day they do. Other parents could go in much more often or not at all - how would you know from the occasional lunch visit? I guess a student could feel bad that their parent doesn't get to come in, but I suspect it's so erractic that it isn't that big a deal. It's not like a class performance where all the parents are there except one (for this, a parent might want to find a neighbor, friend, babysitter, anyone to attend if you can not - cause that can be a pretty sad situation - even so, the other parents understand all about life and responsibilites and no one is judging "better than").

Tanya
Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:51 PM
 
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Wow, I have never heard of such a thing, being able to eat lunch with your child. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE that and I know my ds would too! I might have to mention that and see if ds's school would consider doing that!

~lisa~mama to 3 boys (1/02, 5/04, 12/06)
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Old 11-17-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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The school my DS attends allows it, and I think it's great! I love going to eat lunch with him, and he is so happy when I show up. I enjoy getting to meet his friends, and during times when things are going bad for him, (for example, this past week was just a bad week for him, emotionally-wise) I can come give him a pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

In a cafeteria full of 140 kindergartners, I've seen an average of 3 other moms there on the days I attend. (I've been there a few times this year.)

I bring my 2.5 yo DD with me, and she LOVES eating at school with her brother!
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:18 PM
 
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oops, I already posted
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:40 PM
 
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My mom came to have lunch with me occasionally when I was little. I loved it. I agree with the poster who said it makes kids feel like a celebrity. I plan on having lunch with my kids occasionally when they are in school.
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