Teach your toddler what to expect at school lunchtime each day.
How to wash hands first or use hand sanitizer before opening lunch box, before touching provided lunch plates, utensils.
Teach to not eat anything that has fallen onto the lunch tables (or the floor!)
Teach to never eat after someone. Trading items is fine (with parental consent), but two or more individuals sharing one food item is not.
Teach to never drink after someone. Trading a drink is fine (with parental consent), but sharing one drink with two or more individuals is not.
Explain how to use a napkin and how to wipe mouth after every couple of bites.
Explain that sharing utensils is not allowed.
Gingerly explaining “why” without turning your little one into a neurotic germaphobe, is a delicate balance, but seeing is believing. Using a fluorescent UV black light actually demonstrates how those nasty little germs accumulate.
There is nothing wrong with choosing a seat that is more comfortable. If left-handed, teach that it is perfectly okay to choose an end seat so that elbow room is never an issue for your sweet child.
Time your toddler and explain how lunch is only X number of minutes each day. Place a timer next to the lunch bag and help him/her grasp the concept of time from sitting, unpacking, to repacking, tossing garbage, and departing.
Practice how to open wrapped items carefully to avoid spillage – snacks, juice boxes, milk containers – how to place the straw into the juice box.
Show which items are considered garbage and should be tossed.
Demonstrate how to repack reusable items such as plastic utensils, plastic plates, cups.
A confident toddler is a happy toddler. As a parent, you can help take the scary out of new situations!