Dining, whining, liming?! My Preschool Observations on Eating


Who would have thunk it? Eating, something I regard as fun, as an experience, as my happy thing to do can cause such major drama in the early childhood classroom.

So now as I take my deep breath I want to share what I’ve observed in recent years as it pertains to eating. Here’s “who” I’ve had and how they’ve reacted to food:


Not the ones in the skies but the ones who slide down their chairs under the tables in an attempt to taste the crumbs and pieces of left over food that once belonged to their classmates. When reprimanded and encouraged to do otherwise, they cry out in the name of hunger. Only, not for their own lunches.


Yes, biters. These are the children who you end up feeding (perhaps even force feeding) for whatever reason and they decide that come “hell or high water” they are not eating. So they protest and do whatever they can to get you as far away from their mouths as possible. And one easy, tried, tested and proven way is to bite that person who is so adamant in the need to feed process.


Yucky! Not much to be said about these other than if they throw up they won’t be forced to eat again. And..that’s what they do. They throw up. It’s that simple. Uh oh!

Curious Onlookers

These young people watchers check out every other lunch pan in sight and either ask for some of what their friends are eating or demand to eat what they’re eating. Needless to say, they know what they want and often times ensure they get the names correct so they can tell teachers and parents exactly what they want.

Busy Bodies

These are too actively engaged to eat. As old time Jamaicans would say “excitement full dem belly,” meaning there is so much going on they forget their basic human desire to eat. They simply are not hungry and will not eat.

Need help to eat kids

These have problems manipulating their food. Lunch may be soup, for example, and they are challenged in the fine motor skill departments. Putting soup on spoon can be difficult and a considerable challenge. A challenge of this nature can slow down the actual eating process or discourage it altogether.

Hungry Bellies

Then there are those who eat everything in sight. Every fruit, sandwich, candy; they drink juice and water and still want a little more. These, may have a few internal friends, that perhaps Zentel and a good wash out can help with.

These are ….my foodies…

Tears have been shed for not wanting to eat, for wanting more to eat and also for wanting something else to eat.

Again, no two children eat the same things, in the same ways at the same times. Talk about ‘isms and skisims.’

The reality is that I remain comforted in the fact that when children are hungry they eat. So our duties as teachers and parents are to have food for them and feed them in their own time and space.


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