teaching kids to pack their own lunches

 
Next year is going to be a big transition for our family, with three of our kids now in school 5 days a week.  Last year, I felt like packing school lunches was the bane of my existence.  I really had no idea how much work was involved.  I used to hear people complain about it and wondered . . . really?  Is it that hard?  And then last year happened and I was daily baffled at how much energy the procuring and packing of food required.
 
We are making a concerted effort in our family to start having the kids take over some of the domestic duties.  Both Mark and I work, and the household stuff is often piling up since we have four small kids who are better at making messes than clearwing them up. So far, they’ve gotten pretty adept at putting their own laundry away.  My goal for this year is to get them involved in making their own lunches.
 
At ages 5 and 7, I know they might need a little supervision, but I’ve created a little checklist to try to promote some independence in this area. (Ironically, I mentally use this checklist myself. It helps me to visualize a balanced lunch each day).  I printed this list and it’s now hanging in the pantry, next to a shelf that contains any of the shelf-stable items on the list.
 
 
a checklist to help kids pack their own healthy, balanced lunch

My hope is that packing their lunch can become a part of their bedtime routine.  The great part about doing it at bedtime is that my kids are always enthusiastic about activities that delay going to bed.  I could pretty much ask them to shovel manure at 8pm and they would gladly do it if it meant staying up longer. So, the plan is that after pj’s are donned, the kids will head to the kitchen and pack their lunches for the following day.  I’ll have a shelf with some of the items above, along with a designated bin in the fridge.  We’ve got a drawer where they can access reusable containers and their water bottles, and they can pop their lunch box in the fridge to retrieve in the morning.  I may have to be a little more intentional in the planning and procuring department, but hopefully this can alleviate the daily task from my plate and, in a few years, be something they can do without supervision.

What do you think – is this feasible for 5-year-olds?  Or am I deluding myself that they can handle this task?  Do your kids pack their own lunch?  I’d love to hear advice on how to get kids involved in packing their own lunch.

Thank you GLAD for bringing us this post.


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