It’s hard to believe that some of you have kiddos heading back to school already! We’re just getting started with our summer break!
That being said, a friend called me up the other day asking if it’d be okay to share my blog (why of course, please do!) with some of her soon-to-be-first-grade-mommies. Ah yes, learning to pack school lunches. I remember some of my concerns when my oldest was just starting to eat lunch at school:
- Would she actually eat? Or just talk the whole time?
- Would she be able to get her lunch containers open, and if not, would she be brave enough to ask for help?
- How long would it take before she started trying to trade carrots for Twinkies?
If you haven’t had a chance to read this introductory post, please do. It has lots of tips about packing lunches. And feel free to browse through this blog for lots of fun ideas about what to take for lunch.
If you have a new kindergartener or first grader who will be eating lunch at school this fall, consider spending some time teaching him or her a few new tricks:
- Invite a a couple of friends over. Have each child bring his or her own lunch. Have all of the kids sit together at a table and eat together. Make them all eat at the same time and don’t let them get up for atleast 10-15 minutes. The point is to have some variety in foods as this in itself is distracting (ooh, look – Sam has chocolate cookies, Lucy has a candy bar), and to make them sit and eat at a designated time. Let them talk, a LOT. Because kids talk, and they need to learn to eat and talk at the same time. Or, they atleast need to learn when you better stop talking and start eating 🙂
- Start researching which containers you might want to use in your child’s lunchbox. Make sure your child can open them (especially thermoses with a wide mouth). Pack a few lunches to make sure they hold food the way you want them to. There is nothing worse than finding out that your child refused to eat lunch because the entire thing was covered in yogurt.
- If you plan to send juice boxes or other individually packaged items, practice opening them now.
Another fun idea that we’ve done before is to have a “menu” that your child can “order” his or her lunch from each day. I created a laminated page and each day my daughter checked off what she wanted. This didn’t work as well for me once I started packing multiple lunches, but she definitely had fun with it. If this seems like it’d be up your alley, here’s a sample “menu” that I used.
- Turkey Sandwich
- Salami Sandwich
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
- Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwich
- Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich
- Turkey and Cream Cheese Roll
- Peanut Butter and Apple Roll
- Hummus and Pita
- Crackers and Cheese Slices
- Mini Pizza
- Hardboiled Egg
- Warm Leftovers
- Fruit Cup
- Applesauce with Cinnamon
- Fruit in Season ___________________________
- Green Beans
- Cold Corn
- Cold Peas
- Fruit Leather
- Dried Fruit
- Granola Bar
- Pudding Cup
- Cheese Stick
- Yogurt Tube
- Chocolate Milk
And finally, figure out when packing lunches works best for you. I always remember my mom packing them the night before, but I pack in the morning. However, this fall will be setting our family up with a new schedule and I am guessing that I will need to start doing more work in the evening.
To those of you starting school tomorrow, have a wonderful school year! And to those of you just getting started, go play hard – keep enjoying your summer!