While it’s extremely tempting to give your child a yummy snack during class to help them “concentrate” (translation: stop causing noise or moving around so much), this is a slippery slope. Think of it this way:
CHILD ACTS UP IN CLASS
PARENT GIVES CHILD FOOD TO “CONCENTRATE”.
CHILD SETTLES DOWN UNTIL THEY FINISH THEIR IN-CLASS SNACK.
CHILD ACTS UP AGAIN.
PARENT GIVES SNACK.
CHILD FINISHES SNACK……
CHILDS ACTS UP AGAIN….
Do you see a pattern here? Children are geniuses at finding patterns that will help them get their way and satisfy their immediate needs. This is healthy and we encourage children to find happiness and satisfaction. Unfortunately, some ways they find their needs met are not very healthy. If we associate food as a reward, the child will come to expect food to be given when they are acting up. Imagine if the snack you give them happens to be sweets? This further compounds the problem.
1. OK to Eat Before or After:
If the child is hungry be sure to let them have a snack BEFORE or AFTER the class, to help them feel comfortable and safe.
2. Teachers can Help:
If the child complains about food, do not give in. The teachers will find a way to help them refocus through the fun and interactive Shichida activities.
3. Stay Hydrated:
Water is fine and it’s good to stay hydrated.
4. OK to Step Out:
If the child really needs to step out and have something to eat, make sure to tell them: “You cannot have anything to eat in the classroom and do the fun Shichida activities, but we can go outside while the fun Shichida activity is happening. Would you like that? Then we can come back and do the REALLY exciting Shichida activity. (This will make them understand what they are sacrificing but at the same time they will feel like they have a sense of control). In most cases the child will be patient and stay in the classroom. The teacher will put the activity aside for them to do later if they decide to go out.
5. You Will Survive:
Remember: It’s only 50 minutes. Your child will be OK and survive without a snack. In the meantime, they will learn to gradually focus and concentrate more, a quality that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.