How much time to eat lunch? - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > How much time to eat lunch?
WantRice's Avatar WantRice 07:22 PM 04-20-2011

I'm curious, how much time do your children have to eat lunch at school? What I'm interested in here is the actual eating time. This is a big point of contention in my local school district right now with some parents being outraged that the children only get 15 minutes of eating time.

 

Also, do your children eat and then go outside to play? Or do they play outside and then come in to eat? 

 

 



One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl 07:45 PM 04-20-2011

In the public school my dd went to they got 15 minutes that they had to be in the cafeteria then they dismissed them to go outside as they were ready to.  They could still eat if they wanted to after that but most kids were done and ready to be out of there.


Tigerchild's Avatar Tigerchild 08:12 PM 04-20-2011

My kids get 20 minutes for lunch.  Recess is separate (they have 3 recesses each day two short 15 minute ones, one 40 minute one), there is a "lunch recess" but that doesn't start until 10 minutes after lunch is over for my 2nd graders (they've got a class meeting/math warm up time inbetween), and about 15 minutes after lunch for my 3rd grader.

 

They specifically separate lunch and recess so that kids will actually eat instead of not eating so they have more play time.


Peony's Avatar Peony 08:28 PM 04-20-2011

DD1's school gives them one hour for lunch and recess. There is no time limit on how long they can eat, they are free to eat and leave as they please. When I'm at the school, all the kids are outside by 30 minutes, I would say most kids take 20 minutes to eat. There isn't an issue of them skipping lunch to go play because the lunch/recess period is so long and they have another 30 minute recess 1.5 hours prior to lunch starting.

 

 

15 minutes does seem short to me. 


LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 09:45 PM 04-20-2011

My kids get 15 minutes for lunch. They can stay longer if they want, but only by about 5 minutes because then another class comes in and needs that spot. They get a 25 minute recess after that. 

 

I don't think 15 minutes is enough time. Ds often doesn't eat all of his lunch. He just told me that sometimes he doesn't have enough time and sometimes he gets distracted. Dd just contributed that "most kids just want recess time and don't want lunch time. But I think some kids need longer for lunch."


CarrieMF's Avatar CarrieMF 10:01 PM 04-20-2011

My kids get 15-20 minutes to eat.  They are dismissed after 15 minutes, but can take another 5 if they wish but they MUST be headed outside by the time the 20minutes is up.

 

Working in that school doing noon supervision, 15minutes is more than enough for 90% of the students(even the ones heating stuff up).  They eat in their classes, there is no lunch room or cafeteria where they go to get food.  IF there was then they should be getting a bit more time.

 

After 10minutes most kids are DONE eating, the rest(except the odd really slow student) is done in another 5minutes.   These kids are eating all or almost all of their food, they are not not-eating just to go outside & play.  The ones who are taking longer are either slow in everything they do or are spending more time talking/fooling around than eating & buckle down once the other kids aren't there to distract them.  


whatsnextmom's Avatar whatsnextmom 11:14 PM 04-20-2011

DS has a 40 minute lunch/recess period. He has to stay in the lunch area and eat for at least 15 minutes before they can be released to recess. If he needs more time, he can stay in the lunch area longer. My DD's elementary school was similar. It changed to 30 minutes in middle and high school but obviously, no recess, just a lump of time.


emilysmama's Avatar emilysmama 02:10 PM 04-21-2011

Lunch + recess = 40 minutes.

 

Children are in the cafeteria for 20 minutes, then get dismissed to playground for 20 minutes.

 

However, it takes ten minutes for the children in the hot lunch line to get through the lunch line, get their food, and sit down.  So the hot lunch children only have ten minutes to eat.  If the hot lunch children find that they forget to get a fork or a napkin, have trouble opening milk carton, or something, it takes another precious one or two minutes to get help with that. It is not unusual to find that the hot lunch children only have 5 minutes to eat.  Those children get an additional five minutes to eat, but the children just end up taking just one bite because they just want to go outside and play.

 

I know this first hand because the school allows parents to come in and eat lunch in the cafeteria with their children, and I have done this.  From watching the children eat, I find that most of the food gets thrown out, and not eaten, partly due to lack of appeal, partly due to lack of time, and partly due to eagerness to go outside and play. 

 

Even though my dd does not have hot lunch, she ends up taking longer than the allotted 20 minutes to eat. 

 

When I introduced myself to one of the cafeteria ladies one day, she told me that she knew exactly which child my dd is because my dd is the slowest eater in the first grade.  :D (The cafeteria lady hastened to say that it wasn't because my dd was goofing off instead of eating, like some of the other kids.  She reassured me that my dd just plugged away at her lunch, but was just slow.  And it's true, my dd IS a slow eater, and she is the fourth generation in a family of slow eaters.) The cafeteria ladies don't rush my dd when eating, they just prod those children who talk instead of eat. Since this particular cafeteria lady has seen me eat with my daughter, and has seen that I eat much slower than even my dd, perhaps she was afraid to complain to my face too much.  :D


whatsnextmom's Avatar whatsnextmom 03:53 PM 04-21-2011


Yes, I agree. My kids are vegetarians so have no choice but to bring lunches but I've helped in the lunch area before and the hot lunch kids can spend half their alloted eating time in line.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emilysmama View Post

Lunch + recess = 40 minutes.

 

Children are in the cafeteria for 20 minutes, then get dismissed to playground for 20 minutes.

 

However, it takes ten minutes for the children in the hot lunch line to get through the lunch line, get their food, and sit down.  So the hot lunch children only have ten minutes to eat.  If the hot lunch children find that they forget to get a fork or a napkin, have trouble opening milk carton, or something, it takes another precious one or two minutes to get help with that. It is not unusual to find that the hot lunch children only have 5 minutes to eat.  Those children get an additional five minutes to eat, but the children just end up taking just one bite because they just want to go outside and play.

 

I know this first hand because the school allows parents to come in and eat lunch in the cafeteria with their children, and I have done this.  From watching the children eat, I find that most of the food gets thrown out, and not eaten, partly due to lack of appeal, partly due to lack of time, and partly due to eagerness to go outside and play. 

 

Even though my dd does not have hot lunch, she ends up taking longer than the allotted 20 minutes to eat. 

 

When I introduced myself to one of the cafeteria ladies one day, she told me that she knew exactly which child my dd is because my dd is the slowest eater in the first grade.  :D (The cafeteria lady hastened to say that it wasn't because my dd was goofing off instead of eating, like some of the other kids.  She reassured me that my dd just plugged away at her lunch, but was just slow.  And it's true, my dd IS a slow eater, and she is the fourth generation in a family of slow eaters.) The cafeteria ladies don't rush my dd when eating, they just prod those children who talk instead of eat. Since this particular cafeteria lady has seen me eat with my daughter, and has seen that I eat much slower than even my dd, perhaps she was afraid to complain to my face too much.  :D



 


emilysmama's Avatar emilysmama 06:38 PM 04-21-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by WantRice View Post

Also, do your children eat and then go outside to play? Or do they play outside and then come in to eat? 

 

 


It depends on the grade in this K-5 school.  At the halfway mark of the allotted 40 minutes, the grade that eats first switches places with the grade that plays outside first. This is true for each of the three 40 minute periods.  That way, there is only one grade outside in the playground at a time.

 


Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 06:55 PM 04-21-2011
30 minutes in the cafeteria, and 30 minutes outside. Except that includes walking in the hallway, bathroom/handwashing stops, waiting in line to buy lunch/drinks and cleaning the tables and benches. I try to go eat lunch with them once a week and I'd say it's more like 20 minutes of eating time.


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Polliwog's Avatar Polliwog 04:21 PM 04-30-2011

I think DS's class has about 20 minutes to eat, then they use the bathroom and go outside for about 30 minutes. They have plenty of time to eat. The lunch line moves very quickly.


Llyra's Avatar Llyra 07:13 AM 05-02-2011
DD1 plays outside first, then comes in to eat. They only get about 15 minutes to eat-- kids who are buying lunch often get less, because they have to get the lunch before they can eat it. It's an outrage-- my DD1 comes home every day upset that she didn't have time to eat all her food, and STARVING. They eat at 12, and then it's four more hours before DD gets home-- she can't go that long if she's not allowed to eat her lunch. It drives me nuts. They tried to tell me it was because kids were talking and playing-- that it's "plenty of time" if they just settle down and eat. So I went in and watched, from through a window, to see how she's behaving at lunchtime-- she sits down, and immediately starts cramming her food in, trying to get a chance to get really full before the time is up. So that's not true at all. And she's not the only one-- I saw lots of kids doing the same. And besides-- where did we get the idea that lunch should be a rushed, silent affair? Meals SHOULD be part of the "social curriculum"-- kids need the opportunity to practice their social skills in a setting like school.

The real problem is that they have way too many kids stuffed into a lunchroom that is not big enough. So they have to move the kids quickly, to have time for everybody to eat, and they have to prevent the kids from talking, because otherwise it would be too noisy. Even if the kids talked in a reasonable tone of voice, when you have a more than a hundred children crammed into a too-small room, it's LOUD.

The whole thing works my nerves.
elmh23's Avatar elmh23 11:49 AM 05-02-2011

Dd goes to a Pre-K through 8 school and is in Kindergarten.  They get 25 minutes to eat, followed by a 15 minute recess.  Starting in 1st grade, they do recess first and then eat to cut down on the rushing.  It's a small school, one class per grade, so the lunch line moves fast and at most, there's only three classes in there at a time (if we were full, that'd be about 66 kids, but I think we only have one full class in the entire school.)


 


raksmama's Avatar raksmama 01:35 PM 05-03-2011

ds gets only around 15 minutes as well. he often does not have time to finish


ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 09:49 PM 05-04-2011

The K-5 kids in the school I teach have 30 minutes to be served lunch, sit down, and eat. Then they have 30 minutes for recess. It's a small school, so it doesn't take more than 5 minutes for the kids to make it through the line, and K/1 always goes first because they tend to be the slowest eaters. The 6-8 grades have recess first and then lunch with the same timeframe. When I'm on lunch duty with the 6-8, I feel like 30 minutes is too long for most of them. If they are going to eat in 10 minutes and then spend the rest of the time getting silly and noisy, then they don't need so much time. I'd rather they took more time for recess to round out the lunch/recess hour!

 

DD will be in K at my school next year and I think I'll be satisfied with the amount of time scheduled for lunch and recess.


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