Lunch packing has been the norm in our family since Ella started Kindergarten in 2008. I used to make lunches for all of the kids and sometimes Michael too, but for the past year or so the job of lunch-packing has been delegated to the children. The kids are 11, 9, 7 and 4 and I feel that they are old enough now to pack their own lunch, which is a big help to me on a busy morning.
I made a few rules about lunch-packing which helps keep order instead of it turning into a free-for-all. I have to “approve” each lunch, and they have rules about how many grains/fruits/veg they have to pack, and they also have to make it the evening before, never in the morning. Usually they pack lunch while I’m making dinner, so I’m right there to help if needed, but truth be told they don’t really need me except to shoot down dreams of lunches consisting solely of sweets and salty snacks. For the most part though they pack themselves “mom approved” lunches without my help.
I cannot tell you how much of a help this is, especially on crazy mornings. I used to enjoy packing their lunches, and I would do it the evening before while I was cleaning up dinner, but every year we seem to add on more extra curricular activities in the evenings and so I end up feeling spread thin. I’ve put together a list of reasons that I think it’s important to encourage your children to pack their own lunch, and it highlights why I think it’s been such a great thing for our family.
Five Reasons Children Should Pack Their Own Lunch ::
1. The child learns about Health & Nutrition ~ If you set forth guidelines for them in terms of what foods they can/can’t pack and talk to them about healthy food choices and the food pyramid they will be learning about healthy vs. non-healthy foods and portion control.
3. They are more likely to eat their lunch ~ I’ve noticed over the years that when I pack foods that the kids like or are likely to try that they usually finish their lunch. At school when my pickier eaters buy lunch they sometimes end up throwing food away, which I hate to have happen. By packing their lunch, they are able to have some sort of control over what they are eating and are able to choose foods they will like that are healthy for them as well.
4. It makes the mornings less hectic ~ Mornings can be crazy at our house, especially when I was trying to pack everyone’s lunches while feeding them breakfast and making sure everyone was dressed and ready to go for school. Now I have the kids make their lunches the night before while I’m making dinner, and this has made a remarkable difference in our morning routine. Now all they have to do in the morning is pop their Easy Lunchbox in their lunch bag with an ice pack, a cloth napkin and a water bottle and they are good to go!
5. INDEPENDENCE!!! I love giving my children the skills they will need in life and teaching them to do things for themselves. Doing things independently builds confidence, teaches skills and most importantly, going back to number 2…it is just one less thing Mama has to do for them. I cheer every time my children master a skill and learn how to do new things that make my life easier and make them into more self-sufficient beings. And who knows, maybe it will be the start of a life-long love of cooking!
I asked my kids why they think Children Should Pack Their Own Lunch and this is what they said:
Ella: “Because it makes me feel more independent and like I have a say in things. It’s a start to learning how to cook in the kitchen!”
Max: “Well because maybe their Mom is too busy making breakfast.”
Sam: “So I can survive! If I was buying my lunch and I didn’t like anything they were serving I would just buy the food and it would sit there on my tray the whole time and then I would sit there until I starved and then I would die.” ***Please note: Sam is my pickiest eater! He won’t even eat grilled cheese! He also has a flair for the dramatics sometimes
Henry: “Because I just wanted to.”
Tell me about lunch-packing at your house in the comments below! And if you need some lunch-packing inspiration visit this post.