Why Aussie kids HAVE to eat their Weetbix. Everyday.

It’s the same for the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy.

The other day, I read an article by Foodbank Australia. It said that Aussie kids are attending school without eating the most important meal of the day. All. The. Time.

Foodbank’s new Hunger in the Classroom report is a survey of teachers from across Australia that found at least three students in every classroom are arriving hungry to school.

I speed-read it, thinking ‘Interesting – but it has nothing to do with my life. I’m not in a low socio-economic area.’ And went about my day, perched on my pedestal…

The very next day, I had to eat my words (along with my bowl of Bircher muesli). One of the boys in my son’s kindy class came to school without a bite of brekkie. Three days in a row. The teacher quickly slapped together a Vegemite sandwich that the little mite woofed down.

My first reaction was: maybe this boy is not a morning person and the thought of feeding his face at the crack of dawn makes him sick to his stomach. Or maybe he was being a smartass and refused to eat what his mum offered him.

Nope. The kid did not whinge about his Weetbix. He did not push back his mug of Milo. Turns out, his parents are going through a rough patch in their marriage and their child’s breakfast – or lack of it – is the collateral damage.

A cup of milk hits the spot.

This incident left me... unsettled. Until this week, I read such posts with an imaginary but impervious wall around me. These things happen to “other people”. People from low socio-economic areas. Nobody I knew.

Until this happened, my thoughts mirrored the Foodbank’s report.


It found that, "Government schools are three times more likely to see students coming to school without breakfast compared to non-Government schools, while the issue is worse in regional and rural areas (72%) than in our capital cities (63%).”

But this incident blew the research apart. Yes, my kids go to the local public school. But we live in an affluent area. The parents of the kid in question seem like very nice – very rich – people.

Brekkie time is family time.

The truth was hard to swallow. This could happen to any child, anywhere. And the repercussions are enormous.

The Foodbank report says, “According to the teachers surveyed, over two thirds of students who miss out on breakfast can find it difficult to concentrate (73%) or can become lethargic (66%), with over half experiencing learning difficulties (54%) or exhibiting behavioural problems (52%). However, it is not just the children themselves who are affected, with an overwhelming number of teachers (82%) claiming that their workload increases when they have hungry and distracted students in their classroom.”

I learnt two lessons from this unfortunate incident. One: to speak up and step in if I know a child is going hungry. Two: no matter what, I must kick-start my family’s day with breakfast. And just like the breakfast cereal, things should turn out Just Right.

Are you are breakfast-eater or a breakfast-skipper? What do you love eating for brekkie?

Like this? Then read:

Family breakfast ideas: Sorted.

Two words for the mum who sent her kid to school without socks.