When my oldest was in first grade, he came home from school and begged me to let him make his own lunch because all his friends got to make their own lunches. Now, I don’t know how true that was but this is one time I didn’t use the old line about if your friends jumped off a cliff would you. I thought it was a fantastic idea and he has been in charge of making his lunch ever since.
So, we worked on his sandwich making skills and then I placed buckets in the pantry with pre-packaged items or bagged items prepared at home to add to his lunch box. It has made it so easy for him and the siblings following him to be able to make their own lunches. I just keep the bins stocked and they grab one item from each bin. I have a bin for juice and water, one for fruit cups, and one for an extra item like fig newtons, cookie, trail mix, etc. Their school asks them to bring a healthy snack so we keep a bin for that as well. And the older kids get to grab two of those, one to add to their lunch and one for snack time.
Occasionally, I get items for them that have to be refrigerated and we keep a bin in the fridge for those. But since they pack their lunches at night, it’s so much easier to have everything non perishable. Their sandwiches do get put in the fridge after they make them and then added with an ice pack to their lunch boxes in the morning. But I don’t have the space to keep four lunch boxes full of food that has to be refrigerated in the fridge every night. Figuring out how to do that might be my next project since I’d love to be able to send them with fresh fruit or some dairy items like yogurt or string cheese.
It’s been great and it helps me out so much! One less thing for mom to do is always a plus. And doing it at night takes away that stress in the morning.
- Rather than have to worry that they’re filling their lunch boxes with treats, I know that their lunches will be more balanced with one item from each bin. And I don’t even have to supervise the process.
- I know that they will eat what’s in their lunches because they got to pick what they’re taking from the variety of items offered in each bin.
- It saves me the time of having to pack four lunches every day.
- My kids are learning some independence and responsibility. And in today’s world, that’s always a plus!
So, to whoever it was whose first grader told my first grader that they packed their own lunch . . . thanks for getting us on the same path!
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