In the last 10 years of having kids in school, I have filled a variety of roles. Full time stay at home mom, work at home mom, full time working mom out of the home, part time working mom...
When I have been a full time stay at home mom, the temptation is strong to do everything for the kids. Your at home anyway right?
But what is that teaching them? When do they learn to get organized and make their own lunches?
This is why I believe so strongly in kids making or assisting in the lunch making process. Over the years, I have learned three good reasons for my kids to make their own lunches:
1) You can lecture all day about proper balanced meals and how each meal needs to have healthy grains, good fats and protein.
You can talk about the 8-10 servings a day of fruits and veggies. But your kids need to see how that translates into what they eat for lunch. While they pack their lunch, I'm assisting with slicing veggies and making sure their packing enough protein.
They need to see how important certain nutrients are, to keep them alert and feeling good all day at school. They need to learn the life long habit of good nutrition and packing their lunches is a great way to do it.
2) Hands down, the best way to prevent food coming home untouched, is to get the kids to pack it themselves.
I get really upset when I see wasted food come home. I work hard at keeping our food costs down and still providing healthy food.
With four kids, it's difficult to keep track of who likes kiwi's and who hates cheese on their sandwiches. If they make their own lunch, they are far more likely to eat it!
3) Your kids need to learn that their isn't a magic lunch making fairy that appears overnight while their sleeping!
Good organizational skills like making your lunch the night before or getting up early to get it done, is important.
My kids know that school nights have a routine. They make their lunch, get their homework done and make sure their back packs have library books or anything else they need for the next day. This is a habit that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
Obviously, we don't get it right every day and there are rare evenings that are so full, my kids get home just in time to get to bed. I will help out and put their lunches together, but this the exception, not the rule.
I also realize that younger kids cannot make their lunch unassisted. But I have to say, I do enjoy time in the kitchen with my kids. Once we start on lunches, I am always surprised to see what their creative little minds come up with!
Like Mini Wheats and milk for lunch?! One of my daughter's favorites!
So parents, give yourself a break! Your were not meant to do it all. You are meant to teach your kids the skills they need - now doesn't that feel good to have one less thing to do everyday?!