6 Steps To Not Making Your Kid’s School Lunch Anymore

Wow, I seriously cannot believe how beautifully this Summer of Life Skills series has come together! Today marks the final—tenth!—week of the series and I have covered some serious ground over the past 9 weeks. See my previous posts on how to negotiate, key library skills, public transit skills, green kitchen skills, grocery store skills, bathroom life skills, home safety skills, home cleaning skills, out-in-the-world life skills. HOORAY FOR RAISING FUNCTIONAL HUMAN BEINGS.

Now, for my final post in the series I’m taking a slightly different but totally related approach. There’s a lot I could write about food prep life skills, and in fact I plan on doing some of that this fall, but given that it’s back-to-school season, I want to hit on one of the biggest pain points I hear about from parents: SCHOOL LUNCH. Parents find school lunch prep totally onerous and annoying and I can totally relate. For a variety of reasons (temperament, allergies, etc.), Laurel and Violet have never purchased school lunch. Which means that between the two of them, 2,340 school lunches have been made at home. That is a crap ton of school lunches! The good news for those who are tired of making school lunch is that your kids can totally own school lunch making. So today I want to share 6 steps to not making your kid’s lunch anymore. #hereforit

1. Show them options

Part of what gets onerous about lunch making is lunch food ruts. Show your kid some options; perhaps even print this list of 110 easy and healthy school lunch ideas and have your kid circle their faves then tack it on your fridge for easy reference! 

Easy and healthy school lunch ideas

Easy and healthy school lunch ideas

2. Take your kids to the grocery store

After you have some lunch ideas in mind, take your kid to the grocery store (another life skill in and of itself) so they can pick items. And when you get back home, have them help put groceries away so they know where to look for lunch and snack items when it’s time to pack it up!

3. Get equipped

Gone are the days of brown paper bag lunches! Have your kids pick out some adorably styled products because let’s be honest, adorably styled products matter to kids. Full Circle has an awesome collection of BPA-free kids’ reusable sandwich bags, kids’ reusable snack packs, and kids combo sets. They also have non-kids patterns; I bought Laurel the gold geo combo set for this fall! Violet’s favorites include the girl heroes + cactus party designs.

Adorable BPA-free lunch and snack bags by Full Circle

Adorable BPA-free lunch and snack bags by Full Circle

4. Develop an evening routine

I cannot say enough how important routine is for kids. And when it comes to avoiding school-year morning crazy, it’s crucial to do as much school prep the night before. Making lunches the night before is part of our routine, along with checking backpacks, laying out clothes, and doing a quick review on what is happening the next day to make sure everyone knows what’s coming down the pike. For the lunch routine itself, develop a routine for the components (e.g., main item, fruit, snack, etc.); of course you can deviate from this, but having a general system for what elements go into lunch is helpful so kids can actually execute the pieces.

5. Advance load snacks

I understand the convenience of snack packs but they also result in added expense + tons of packaging waste. I recommend stocking up on the Full Circle kids’ reusable snack packs and then advance loading a bunch of snacks so it’s easy to just grab and go. This summer I overhauled our kitchen pantry closet and one of my priorities was an easy-to-reach shelf containing lunch items (food + lunchboxes) and snacks to make it easy for Laurel and Violet to grab and prep their own!

Have your kids advance load snacks (adorable snack bags by Full Circle)

Have your kids advance load snacks (adorable snack bags by Full Circle)

6. Stay strong!

Listen, reality is, your kids are going to give you lots of reasons to fold. They’ll pack “imperfect” lunches. They’ll delay. They’ll complain. Stay the course and keep reminding them that it’s their job. It may take months of persistence but they’ll eventually realize that packing their own lunch is the route to having one to eat!

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Full Circle, purveyor of amazing eco-friendly home care products. I’m thrilled that sharing about Full Circle worked so beautifully—and dare I say organically!—with my summer of life skills series!

Looking to level up other life skills? Check out these posts: how to negotiate, key library skills, public transit skills, green kitchen skills, grocery store skills, bathroom life skills, home safety skills, home cleaning skills, out-in-the-world life skills. And here’s a video version of this post if listening/watching is preferable!

6 steps to get kids to make their own lunch

6 steps to get kids to make their own lunch