Some of my work involves working with children at primary and secondary schools. Every time I witness break time, I can see a class of 30 take out their bag of crisps each, followed by a chocolate bar.
30 crisps packets per class, in every class, every school day.
My older daughter will be starting school soon and I dread the advent of peer pressure. The other day, on our way home, she already explained to me how she needed chocolates in her lunch box because one child (note, just one!) in the forest kindergarten always had chocolate. I didn't manage to bring across how that wasn't a good idea, as much as I tried.
In the good old time of my own childhood (which of course weren't all that much better) I never saw a bag of crisps. We ate crisps for parties, occasionally as a treat at weekends in the house. My lunch box? Well, I ate at home, didn't get money to spend and would eat a sandwich for lunch which occasionally came with chocolate tablets as filling. I remember waffles which were sweet and probably not very healthy. But most certainly there were no crisps and no chocolate bars ever. Similarly, I would never have thought about spending my pocket money on sweets. It just didn't occur to me. I saved for Hifi's, cameras and later records.
So as of September, will I have to bend down to pressure or will I manage to rule with authority? I shudder to think of a packet of crisps going down my child 5 days a week on 38 school days. How much rubbish is that over 12 school years? Rubbish in terms of nutrition but also in terms of waste. So I had this idea when one group of children (who surely have their bags of crisps too) suggested that we could do a project on a healthy eating theme. Well, how about doing a crisps free lunch, or even a rubbish free lunch day, a day where all the lunches have to be either without packaging or one that can be recycled?
I'm rather excited by this idea. Not sure if the kids will go for it though and they have the say as far as picking a project is concerned. Temptation usually wins doesn't it? Or maybe not?
As for my own children, somehow the school furthest from a shop has taken on a new appeal.