Every day after school I open my son's lunch box with fear and trepidation. Firstly there's the fact that the school is on an economy drive and thus, to save money on waste collection, all food rubbish comes home in the lunchbox. You can't even begin to imagine quite how much mess an almost-eaten yoghurt tub can make. And yes, my kid could ask to rinse the tub out before he comes home but don't get me started on this - it's an entirely separate topic.
What makes me EVEN more nervous than the mess that might await me inside the lunchbox is the possibility that the healthy packed lunch I lovingly made that morning might still be there, barely touched. It doesn't seem to matter what I make my kids for lunch - one of them just practically never manages to eat anything except the sweet stuff.
And yes, I know that the solution to that is probably to quit sending the sweet stuff in altogether but I worry that if I did that, my kid still wouldn't eat the healthy stuff in his packed lunch and thus would practically starve.
So every week we have the same discussion about what he'd like in his lunch and then each morning I give him the same gentle lecture about eating the food I've prepared, but every afternoon it comes home with only the barest of nibbles on the corner. It.Drives.Me.NUTS.
I know some schools police what kids bring to school in their lunch boxes and while I certainly wouldn't want teachers sanctioning what my kids can and can't eat at lunchtime, I do sometimes wish they'd monitor what goes entirely uneaten. I appreciate that teachers and dining staff aren't there to make my little darlings eat their lunch, but a stern look carefully thrown here and there in my child's direction might ensure that my lads actually ate the healthy stuff in their lunch box, and not just the sweet treats. There are fussy eaters and then there are kids who'd just rather eat an Oreo over a sandwich.
So anyway - all of that to say that I laughed out loud at this piece in the Daily Mail about the lengths some parents will go to in order to er, let's say gently persuade their kids to eat their packed lunches.
The paper reports:
Parents frustrated with their children's picky eating habits have taken to social media to share a host of creative ways to manipulate them in a new thread gaining popularity online.
In these lunch box notes posted onto sites - including Instagram and Imgur - mothers and fathers have used threats, persuasion and even little white lies to talk their youngsters into finishing their sandwiches.
One ingenious father coined the hashtag '#Dadfact' in an effort to bribe his child into eating their sandwiches using information that might not be completely reliable.
Pure genius. I'm totally stealing that one on Monday. And if the whole unicorn thing doesn't humour my kid into eating his darned sarnie, I might start threatening to send him little notes reminding him how much I love him unless he starts chowing down. Then we'll see which one of us is scared to open the lunchbox...
Do you find much of your child's lunch comes home uneaten? What tricks and tips do you use to persuade your kids to eat their lunch? Come and tell us over on our Facebook page.