Preschool scolds mother for giving child chocolate cake in her lunchbox

OPINION: Stop lunchbox shaming parents
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Heaven forbid you should give your kid a slice of chocolate cake if the experience of one mother is anything to go by.

A South Australian mum was mortified after her child’s preschool sent home a note condemning her for including a sweet treat in her three-year-old’s lunchbox.

‘Your child has chocolate slice from the red food category today,’ read the note. “Please choose healthier options for kindy.’

Incredulously, the note included a red frowning face.

(Credit: Facebook)

The mum of eight was apparently mortified and I don’t blame her.

While we all need to encourage healthy eating habits in our kids, when did kindy teachers become food Nazis? Do they have degrees in nutrition? And what right does anyone have to tell a parent what they can feed their child?

It’s time for these self-appointed lunchbox loons to back off. Most parents are doing the best they can and a piece of cake is hardly a problem if there’s other healthy options in the child’s lunchbox.

I’m all for education and steering parents in the right direction and South Australia’s RightBite programme, which classifies foods into red, amber and green categories, is a great initiative to help parents make good choices.

But a personalised note? With an infantile frowning face? It’s like putting a big red cross on a parent’s forehead.

Sure, make suggestions through the newsletter and educate kids themselves to make healthy choices because ultimately they’ll be in charge of their own diet and exercise.

But lunchbox shaming busy parents is out of line. Teachers and parents should be working together – not sending filthy passive aggressive notes.

Besides, who’s to know the cake wasn’t made with beetroot!

Angela Mollard is New Idea’s Parenting Editor

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