With school, extra-curricular activities, and the constant distraction of technology, children today are busier than ever. Unfortunately, this often means there is less time for you and your child to sit down and talk over dinner. Without these important talks around the table, it can be difficult to catch up on you child’s life and make sure they are making the right social, nutritional, and academic choices throughout the day. So how can you still bond, communicate, and lookout for your child if family dinnertime is not always an option? Joining your child at school lunch may be the perfect alternative.
One way to become more involved in your child’s life is to have a physical presence at school. Doing this during a meal will allow you to observe and interact with your child’s friends, meet school staff in an informal setting, and experience the food served at school. Although it is probably not something you would do on a regular basis, going to your child’s school for lunch a few times a year could be beneficial and would allow you to get a firsthand look into your child’s education and nutritional habits. Research shows that children are more successful in school when their parents are involved in their academics. Children whose parents are involved in their education get better grades, have better attendance, and have better behavior. Simply joining them at school lunch can help your children develop into better students while you get the opportunity to spend more quality time with them.
If you decide this is something you would like to do, contact your child’s teacher and ask about the possibility of joining your child for a meal. Schools have many policies and procedures in place for the safety of our children, so you will need to work out the details in advance.
Julianna Apuzzo- Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences
Hill, N. E., Castellino, D. R., Lansford, J. E., Nowlin, P., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (2004). Parent academic involvement as related to school behavior, achievement, and aspirations: Demographic variations across adolescence. Child development, 75(5), 1491-1509.
McWayne, C., Fantuzzo, J., Cohen, H. L., & Sekino, Y. (2004). A multivariate examination of parent involvement and the social and academic competencies of urban kindergarten children. Psychology in the Schools, 41(3), 363-377.