You know how occasionally you seem to have the same conversations with all the people you meet? Well that has been happening to me a lot lately. If it’s not the ‘what do you do’ one, it’s one about school lunches.
Yep, my conversations with people are the best 😉
Anyway this conversation about school lunches basically goes like this:
Me: Oh my kids make their own lunch.
Other Person: Really? How do you get them to do that?
Now whilst the easy answer to that questions is ‘I tell them’ 🙂 , what they usually mean is how do you make sure that they are doing it right. And so I thought I would share with you how I get the kids to make their lunches.
It’s super dooper complicated. 😉
Basically, anything that revolves around ‘getting your kids to do something’ starts with an attitude. You have to have an attitude as a parent, that expects your kids to lift their weight. They are perfectly capable of doing a lot of stuff we don’t give them credit for, and usually they want to do more than we ask of them. A wise lady once said to me that our job as parents is to work ourselves out of a job. Basically she meant that by the time your child is a teenager (around the 15 year age mark), they should be able to complete all the basic tasks involved with running a home. Not that you’re asking them to, but they should be able to do anything when asked.
If that’s the goal, you need to start young.
Now my kids are almost 11, 8, and 6, and Ava will be 4 in July. They all are responsible for getting their own food when they go to school, or when Ava goes to playgroup, and I rarely have to swap anything out.
Having said that, Ava has learnt from the older kids, so a 3-year-old might normally be on the young side, and when any of the others first started school, I did everything the first few weeks, whilst they got settled. Once I felt they were getting the hang of the morning routine, I gave them the job of getting recess organised, whilst I made lunch, and then, once that was smooth sailing, they all started making their own sandwiches as well.
Now however, when it comes to my 6-year-old getting ready for school, I do very little, except make sure he has items for certain days. (Show and share, sports day etc.) He is responsible for everything else, and he does a great job with little reminding.
So back to school lunches, here is how we do it:
In our pantry, we have a large container filled with pre-approved school snacks. It includes all kinds of things from packets of sultanas, to muesli bars, to small packets of rice crackers or tiny teddies. I know that some people are against packaged food, and I think that’s great! Personally I aspire to fill my snack box with pre packaged home-baked goods, but for now I do what I can. If you’ve got the time, or that way inclined, I strongly recommend doing it that way.
All my kids have a set limit on how much food they can take to school. For the girls it’s pretty much a standard ‘two items out of the snack box, a piece of fruit, and a sandwich.’ For BJ it’s a little more, and Taylah occasionally asks for more which is fine.
Everyone is allowed more than one piece of fruit (unless we are running low), or vegetables, if they want it. The snack box rules are hard and fast though. Two is the maximum, unless stated otherwise. (This because I only have pre-packaged stuff in there.)
We also usually have pre approved items in the fridge as well, such as yoghurt, cheese, occasionally plain milk poppers, home-made slice etc. These are allowed to be substituted for a snack box item, and usually are. I’m not too fussed what the kids actually put in, as I’ve made sure what is available is fine, but I may swap items if there is too much of one type of food. (Like yogurt, milk and a cheese sandwich.)
With lunches I keep it simple, and make sure there are always cheese slices, sliced ham or favourite toppings available. Occasionally I’ll make things like pizza scrolls or even sausage rolls which the kids like cold. Taylah in particular loves leftovers so will take pretty much anything for lunch.
When it comes to fruit, again I try to keep it easy. Apples and bananas are expected to be taken and eaten whole. Oranges will be cut up on request. Large items like watermelon will be kept sliced in the fridge, and pieces can be taken. I will also cut up things like cucumber and carrot the night before and put in containers for brain food for the kids that will happily eat it.
Basically, my goal for lunch preparation is quick, easy, and healthy. No one has time for mucking around or long decisions on what to eat. If a child is taking too long, I choose for them, and that usually is enough motivation to move a bit quicker next time. Choosing your own items is a much longed for freedom, and none of them are keen to give it up. 🙂
And for that matter, neither am I. 🙂
Do your kids make your own lunches?
How do you go about doing it?