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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How our kids make their own school lunches!

I'll start off by saying that if I'd just make the lunches all by myself, it would be so much easier and faster. Really, it would! But in the long run, after years, it wouldn't. I know that much is true. They'd be in high school, and I'd still be making their lunches! Or they would skip lunch altogether. Not that I'd know that from experience or anything. Just saying. That's what might happen.
Never you mind my crazy-crammed unorganized freezer.Or the hat and water bottle on the floor that everyone just steps over.These are both on the bottom of a very long list of things that need to get done... eventually. 
I think I was especially impressionable a few weeks ago when I was reading an article about the Dutch and how they raise their children differently, encouraging more responsibility than us 'Mercans. There was a short line or two about kids making their own lunches starting as early as kindergarten, with guidance of course. And I got to thinking in a moment of impressionable insanity, why not? Why couldn't my younger ones make their own lunches?! They are more than capable of doing it, and I have to clean up the mess already anyway.
Until this point, Papa and I get up way earlier than human being should have to wake up at 6am. Papa makes breakfast, and I pack the lunches. The younger kiddos hear us and wake up about the same time. The older kiddos need to be roused with a electric cattle prod but that's another story entirely. Breakfast is promptly at 6:35, (Some of the kiddos have to leave the house at 7:15am so we have to do it all way earlier than I'd choose.) so lunches need to be completely packed by then so we can have breakfast together. The kiddos get dressed pretty fast, so that leaves them about 20 min to get their own lunches made before breakfast.
See! The water bottle and hat are still on the floor. Kids are completely oblivious to it. 
She's loved hard-boiled eggs since the day we met her!
So here's how it works. While they are still getting dressed, I set out some lunch options. Cheese. Hard boiled eggs. Cuties. Strawberries, grape tomatoes...  They aren't limited to these items, but it helps them not be overwhelmed by looking in the refrigerator. I ask them to pick out and/or make at least 1 protein, (a pb&j, hard boiled egg, ham sandwich, bagel with cream cheese...) 1 fruit or veggie, and they can add most anything else they like (pretzels, goldfish, more fruits or veggies...) including add 1 dessert like a cookie, left over piece cake, rice krispie square, piece of chocolate...  (Who am I kidding?! Rice krispies never ever last long enough to make it into a lunch in our house!) And all the while I supervise.
By the time they were done today, this is what the girls came up with. Tess had a pb&j, celery sticks and salami slices "for desert." Mimi had a hard boiled egg, crackers with cheese slices and salami, and a cookie. (Jude had Tylenol and Motrin for the 3rd day in a row as he's been sick lately, poor little dude!)
Note size 14 Man Child shoes. 
Another bonus is that they get practice with putting things away and cleaning up after themselves too! Not that I expect them to perfectly wipe down the counters or anything. I have to help put away items that go up high, re-wipe the counters and wash the dishes that they put in the sink after they are gone. Like I said, it'd be so much fast if I just did it all myself, but in the end, I think it's gonna be worth it.
And this little kindergarten cutie has been not only enjoying her lunch more than when I made it, but is actually eating it too! Dare I say they are appreciating their lunch more than if I had made it for them?!
So I started supervising/assisting the 3 youngest kiddos making their school lunches last month-ish just to see how it went. And the verdict is that it's going great! Totally worth it, and I hope that I'm instilling some responsibility, knowledge about food and nutrition, and skills that will last a long while. The kiddos will definitely be making their lunch the rest of this school year and when school resumes in August. I have lofty ambitions of them taking turns making family dinners someday!

And ps - please remind me to never ever ever choose cabinetry and floors with orange and red undertones in it again.
Nothing good comes from that.


  1. Nancy...boy did I need this post. I have a lunch problem at my house. Hopefully you have inspired me to get our act together for next school year! Hope all is well...


  2. Great Job! Wish I had done that with my kids when they were that age...

  3. My kids have been making their lunches all year. 3rd, 2nd and K. It started out mostly out of necessity. I'm pregnant with number five and could not stand the sight/smell of food that early in the morning for a long time. Now they are so used to it, they just do it. It's been mostly great.

  4. I have one that needs a cattle prod! I honestly can't wait for him to move out and be responsible for himself. My husband and I disagree on the fact that he should get himself up at this stage of the game. He thinks we should leave him to his own devices and if he doesn't get up for school a few days he will be responsible and get himself up. I think without me he would never get up and would flunk out of school because the kid honestly doesn't hear the alarms.

  5. Congratulations! No, really, I could not do this. I make their lunches so I can finish the job in 15-20 minutes. But if it counts, I let them set the table and fill their own plates and such... but not when we are under the clock.

    I keep staring at little Tess's legs. Those are the legs of a runner. I bet she runs really really fast. I had such legs. Then I ate chocolate. :D

    And you are so right about the colours of the kitchen. Mine looks the same as yours except that my floors are made out of white marble. That's the only thing I will keep when I redecorate my kitchen next year, if God will help.


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