Dad Upset His 6-Year-Old Only Gets A 20-Minute Lunch Break At School & Doesn't Have Enough Time To Eat

Research backs up the dad's claim that students need longer lunches.

kids eating sandwiches outside EZ-Stock Studio / Shutterstock

In school, lunch break serves as a time for children to decompress, fuel nutrition and socialize. 

However, one father named DZ Watts shared his frustration in a TikTok video after finding out that his six-year-old daughter's school wasn't giving her and other kids enough time at lunch.

The dad was upset after learning that his daughter only gets a 20-minute lunch break at school.

"Let's talk school lunches for a second. How long do your kids get to eat?" Watts began in his video. "Because I contacted the school yesterday and they sent me a message about my daughter and come to find out they have 20 minutes on their lunch break to be able to eat."




He continued, pointing out that an adult in a workplace environment generally gets 30 to 60 minutes to take their lunch break to eat, and sometimes that isn't even enough for adults, let alone children.

"You give them 20 minutes to go into a lunch room, figure out what they're gonna eat, go sit down with their food, and manage to shovel it down their trap within 20 minutes," Watts demanded. He recalled hearing from his daughter time and time again that she barely had enough time to eat her lunch at school and often ended up having to throw it out.


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After hearing about how long she gets to spend at lunch, he concluded that her lack of eating is probably why she's falling off her growth chart. He admitted that when he was in school, students were given 45 minutes each day for lunch, and had two 15-minute breaks where food was given out.

Dad Upset That His 6-Year-Old Only Gets 20 Minute Lunch Break At School And Doesn’t Have Enough Time To EatPhoto: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock


"To me, this seems absolutely insane," he lamented. "I just can't imagine giving a kid 20 minutes to be able to handle a bathroom break, go to the lunchroom, and manage to somehow eat their food and leave when most adults can't do that."

Research has shown that students, especially younger ones, need longer school lunches.

In a nationally representative survey from Education Week, more than 6 in 10 educators admitted that their students need at least a half-hour to eat. However more than three-quarters of teachers said their students get less time; 21% of teachers said their students had less than 20 minutes for meals.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that students have at least 20 minutes of sitting and eating — or “seat time." However, per Education Week's research, for students to actually have 20 minutes to eat, they need more than a half-hour in their lunch periods.


Students have only a fraction of their lunch period to actually eat because they also have to use that time to go to the restroom, walk to the cafeteria, and wait in line for food.

Dad Upset That His 6-Year-Old Only Gets 20 Minute Lunch Break At School And Doesn’t Have Enough Time To EatPhoto: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

According to a 2019 analysis by the World Wildlife Fund in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, when lunch periods are too short, more food also goes uneaten, contributing to the massive amount of food waste that schools produce — around 530,000 tons of food a year.


In light of Watts' frustration and the evidence of how much children need longer lunch breaks, schools need to start addressing and reassessing the importance of nutrition and how beneficial it will be for students to have an adequate amount of time in the school cafeteria.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.