Lunchtimes – coping in a canteen
Lunchtime and break times
Some children may find it harder to understand instructions, such as break and lunch times, especially in secondary school where they may have to make decisions about who to talk to, what food to choose etc.
If the child is anxious you may want to talk to him or her about this time and give some strategies
Queuing for meals in a canteen – try watching the person in front and see what they are doing e.g. taking a tray, pouring a drink, ordering the food.
Deciding what to eat and drink – see if you can get a set of menus from the school and talk through the choices and costs with the child so he or she is prepared
Give the child some change or the correct money if it is a cash till to pay
Where to sit – sitting next to the wrong person may cause difficulties. Talk with the child about choosing a seat close to people he or she knows and getting into a conversation when someone talks to them. If they say “the seat is taken”, say “sorry” and move to another seat at a different table.
Encourage the child to wait until someone else starts to talk to you – listen to the question and follow on the conversation from this topic area.
Check out what happens at the end of lunchtime, whether trays and plates are put on a rack or if plates are left on the table.