After primary schools began reporting that its students often struggled to open foods, a Brisbane child care centre decided to take action early, rolling out “independent eating” classes to three- and four-year-olds.

“Parents pack lunches and kids rarely have any contact with zip locked bags, clingwrap or fruits that need to be peeled,” director of Timber Tots Child Care, Jana Walker, told the Courier Mail. “When they get to school it can be very frustrating for them when they are left wrangling with their tub of yoghurt.”

“Our classes will teach children how to make a sandwich and how to eat lunch on their laps without spills. We asked the local schools that our children will eventually attend how we could best prepare them. This was one of the areas. We want our children to be well prepared and confident about the school routine.”

Experts are also advising parents and grandparents to avoid “overwrapping” children’s lunches. Accredited dietician Kate Di Prima told the newspaper, “Children have a small window of focus to eat their lunch as they are keen to play with their friends. My advice is to buy a bento-style lunch box with lots of compartments and avoid packaging entirely.”

“Peel the oranges or put the sultanas into separate compartments. Zip lock bags are not necessary. Show the child how to open the lunch box and make sure they are competent before starting school.”

Do you think these “independent eating” classes really necessary? Or should children be taught how to eat independently at home? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

This article was written in partnership with Over60.

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