Your children are constantly surprising you. Their independence is growing every day and as much as you grieve how quickly they grow you find great pride in their confidence and maturity. Even the littlest ones are forging ahead and showing you how self-sufficient they can be. It’s time to give them a little more responsibility and teach them some valuable lessons, too. School lunches can be checked off of your list if you take a little time and energy to teach your children to make their own.
If you are going to monitor exactly what they put in their school lunches everyday you might as well be doing it yourself. Teach your children that things that come in packages are often not the healthiest choices. Limit them to one packaged item per lunch. This will ensure that they aren’t surviving on processed foods alone.
Lunches Must Include One Serving of Fruit or Veggies
Both would be ideal but, let’s face it, our kids don’t always eat what they should. Just because you pack carrot sticks and hummus doesn’t necessarily mean they will be eaten. Let the child choose a fruit or veggie that they are sure to eat. Adding an apple or a banana to a school lunch is as easy as pie; but don’t let them add the pie.
Sandwiches Aren’t For Everyone
While most children can be trusted to put a sandwich together using a butter knife and a few items from the fridge, a sandwich isn’t always the healthiest or most appetizing choice. Cheese, crackers, grape tomatoes and a little bit of meat from the evening before’s dinner is perfectly acceptable for a lunch time entree. These options are often far easier to manage than a sandwich, anyway.
Water, Water Everywhere…
Make it a hard and fast rule that a full water bottle must be added to each lunch. Most children can manage to fill a water bottle and place it in their backpack. This is a healthier option and a more environmentally friendly one, too. The calories and packaging involved in other beverages are not conducive to healthy living. If your little one is adverse to water you might want to make a deal regarding how much water they drink before they can reach for another option.
Practice Makes Perfect
Let your child watch you carefully as you create their lunch a few times and then let them try it on their own. You can supervise them until you feel they have it right. Then, you’ve successfully taken a task from your busy to-do list and added a maturity building task to theirs. Before you know it, they will forget they ever had a ‘staff’ to make their lunches for them.
Once they’ve mastered this chore why not explore other options. Children as young as primary school can be trusted to do a lot more than we often let them. Let them surprise you with their resilience and give them a job to do that will teach them life skills and make them proud. You’ll probably be a little proud yourself.