Back to school time is here which means busier mornings and evenings. Finding the time to prepare and pack nutritious, homemade lunches every morning or evening for your kids can be challenging with homework, family dinner, extracurricular activities, and social time all packed into a few hours before bedtime. Some parents may feel frustrated to see half their carefully prepared lunch return home in the lunch box, too! There are so many reasons to teach your kids to pack their own lunch for school; read on for our top 3.
#1: It’s a Time and Energy Saver
In the beginning, especially with younger kids, you’ll put in extra time and effort while you supervise your child in the kitchen as she learns to use new utensils and skills. Once she gets the hang of it, though, she’ll take pride in the responsibility and the fact that she gets to make decisions about what to feed herself. After the confidence and excitement set in and her lunch-making skills solidify, you can sit back and relax while the lunches seem to make themselves!
#2: It Teaches Your Children Good Nutrition
One of the best parts about letting your kids pack their own lunch is letting them decide what they’ll eat tomorrow. In the beginning, it’s wise to let them choose just one item, like a side or drink, and work up to total decision-making power about lunch. During this process, try to let go a little. Kids who choose cookies over carrots time and again will eventually learn that they don’t feel as good come afternoon as they did when mom was packing a healthier option, and will begin to attune to their own bodies and intuitive cravings.
#3: It Gives them a Green Perspective
Kids who are involved with the entire lunch process—from preparing and packing to bringing home, emptying, and cleaning containers—are more able to notice the amount of waste produced by packaging and uneaten food. If they’re responsible for cleaning out their lunchbox before making tomorrow’s lunch, they’re also likelier to choose foods and portions that they know they’ll be able to finish the next day to save themselves the trouble of dealing with the stinky remnants they didn’t eat today.
Allowing your children to prepare their own lunches empowers and teaches them. If you stick with it, in time you’ll have raised a very healthy, efficient, lunch-making machine! Has your family passed off lunch-making duties to the kids?