Tips for Lunchroom Monitors

1. Be a positive role model

Children learn by example. Introduce yourself when you meet the class for the first time or when new students join the class. Do not talk about your own or others’ body size, diet and or weight. Avoid talking about the amount of food a child is eating or making negative comments about the food they are eating.

2. Be food safe

Ask children to clear off their desk before eating. Also have them wash their hands before and after eating. You should wash your hands too.

3. Be aware of students with food allergies

Know which children in the class have an allergy. Your school will have a policy or guidelines to prevent allergic reactions. Find out ahead of time from a teacher/principal what the policy is and how you would respond if a child has a reaction. Do not promote sharing of foods and be sure to bring foods that will not trigger a student’s allergy.

4. Let the child pick what they want to eat from their own lunch

Children have built-in signals for feeling hungry and full. It is important for them to learn to listen to their bodies and eat when their bodies tell them to. Sometimes, a child may not want to eat a meal. Do not worry. They will likely have a snack or eat more at their next meal. Do not beg, threaten, play games or force a child to eat.

5. Do not use food as a bribe or reward

Before coming to a classroom, discuss with the teacher how to handle poor behaviour. Using food, especially candies, as rewards can lead to poor eating habits and a preference for these foods.

6. Keep mealtimes calm and pleasant

Ask children to remain seated at their desks while eating. Enjoy your mealtime with them. By not letting children run around, it helps to prevent choking. Talk about fun topics that kids enjoy.