According to the non-profit Share Our Strength, 1 out of 5 children in the United States faces the threat of hunger. Whether or not your family is able to provide three meals a day is important to the well-being of your children. If you can afford breakfast, your children should not be skipping it. If you can't afford breakfast, there are programs available through your school district to help. Going to school hungry can have devastating results for students.
Inability to Concentrate
According to WebMD, eating a healthy breakfast helps children concentrate in school. Share Our Strength believes this is because students aren't sidetracked by pangs of hunger, checking the clock to see how much time there is until lunch. Those who don't eat any breakfast can be sluggish, and those who eat the wrong kind of breakfast can be hyperactive. Either way, not eating the right breakfast - or any breakfast at all - is setting children up to fail.
Poor Academic Performance
Children who skip breakfast, and therefore can't concentrate, perform poorly in school according to National Public Radio. During the night, our bodies are fasting. In the morning, we need to give our brains a boost of glucose, or blood sugar, which is the brain's fuel source. In fact, studies dating back to the 1950s consistently show that children who eat breakfast have better grades, better short-term memory, and better processing skills than children who skip breakfast.
Headaches and Stomachaches
Being hungry doesn't feel good and affect children's performance in school. Children who skip breakfast end up in the nurse's office more than other children do. They complain of headaches, stomachaches, and nausea. Not only is this painful for them, but it is lost time in the classroom learning.
How to Ensure Your Child Eats Breakfast
In order to make sure that your child eats a healthy breakfast every day, be prepared. Wake up with enough time to eat. Have bags packed the night before so no one is scrambling to get out the door. And plan a breakfast menu for the week so that there is no question about what there is to eat. If you are struggling to put breakfast on the table financially, you can sign your child up for breakfast at school. Just contact your local district for more information. For ways to help hungry children, visit NoKidHungry.org.
It turns out breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Lead by example. If you are not eating breakfast, make an effort to start now. It will help your children learn the importance of a healthy breakfast, and will help you stay focused at work.