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My daughter is stealing other children’s lunches. How do you stop your 6 year old from stealing at school?


Posted anonymously, 2nd June 2015


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  • My foster daughter has done this a lot. We were already going to the psychologist with her, so could talk about this at therapy.
    First of all talk with your daughter and with the teacher at school indeed. My foster daughter had to go in reflection at school because of this and I was happy with that. She also would try to eat all her lunch before school and then tell the teacher that her mum didn’t pack her any lunch. The school would give her then permission to go to the canteen and I was presented with the bill. The problem was by my foster daughter probably a bit bigger and I would say became more of a compulsion.
    What I found helpful is in any discussion with her about it to make clear that I love her no matter what = most important message. That I love her but love not all her behaviour.
    We started rewarding her if she was able she could collect stolen foods/goods and hand it to me or the teacher before she used it.
    Every time she did it I would also ask if she could write a wee sorry letter to the child she stole from, making her think about how her behaviour affects other people.


  • You must talk to your daughter so she knows it’s wrong – then possibly change what you send in her lunch box to what is in everyone else’s lunch box.


  • I liked reading these comments. Kids my goodness, I know my two aren’t angels all the time :)


  • Wow sounds like you will definitely need to be having a stern talk to your daughter. Maybe she needs to make more choices regarding her lunch? Do the teachers have any ideas?


  • Wow sounds like a tough issue! You’ll need to talk to your daughter and try and find out why she is doing it. Is she jealous of what others have in their lunch boxes? Is she looking for attention? Etc. you should also speak with the school to see how they are going about it.


  • Firstly you should have a very firm talk with her. At six she can understand that she should not be doing this. Second, hopefully she has a supportive teacher who can keep an eye out and ensure she realises that her school does not approve of this. If she is feeling that the other kids have more interesting food in their lunchboxes, let her choose her own food for a while, even if it is not so healthy so that the behaviour stops before other kids realise and start bullying her. Good luck. I’m sure she can be helped with this.


  • What does the teacher say about it? Surely they’d have a strategy in place.


  • What did you end up doing the helps top your daughter from sharing other kids lunches.? Just curious as i am sure a lot of other kids do this as well.


  • Is there a reason she is stealing the lunches? does she like them over her own? or is there something deep down and this is a coping reaction. sometimes when kids are anxious, nervous they can eat as a way to relax and calm? is she happy at school?. I hope you can sort this out.. xxx good luck


  • I am assuming that you found out because the school advised you? What srategies are they implementing or suggesting to combat this? I’m very interested to know why your daughter is doing this – hunger, other people’s lunch looks better, attention, asserting her power over others? What was the outcome of you talking to her


  • What a hard one. Agree a system of punishments with the school. See if they can have her eat separately to other kids.


  • Maybe the teacher could address this issue as a whole class discussion about food and lunches and not sharing food and lunches. This can be done in a friendly and relaxed way and that way everybody knows the rules. Is she extra hungry due to the change in weather or growing? Maybe look into the reason why too?


  • Have you asked her why? Is it food that she is not allowed to have or is she hungry?
    I think that you need to know what the cause is before you can stop it.


  • I would chat to your daughter and ask her whats so good about other kids food that she feels the need to take it. Is it there is not enough food in her lunch box? or is it just she wants what in the other kids lunch box. If its the second option i would let her choose her treat to put in her lunch box each day. If its lunch orders she is taking tell her if she stops taking other kids lunches you will order her own lunch order of her choice.
    If that doesnt work i would ask the teacher if she could explain to the kids lunches are not to be shared due to posible allergic reaction within the class that way she will not feel like she is been picked on. If that doesnt work ask the teacher if she could send her to the office for breaking the rules. That might just be enough to scare her.


  • is it actual stealing? talk to your child. Tell her that her lunch is special because you made it for her. Is she jealous of her friends food? Maybe you could buy some of that stuff for her. It could just be jealousy of another child’s lunchbox more so than straight up trying to steal.


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