Getting out the door on school mornings with young kids can be tough. Believe me, I know - I have three kids of my own. While mornings can be hectic, packing lunch to send off with your little one doesn't have to be. Over the years, I've discovered some tips for packing lunches that help mornings run a lot more smoothly. I hope these work for you too because let's face it, having an extra few moments to enjoy that morning coffee can make all the difference in your day ahead. Feel free to let me know if this helps in your home - I love hearing from you!
1. Pack lunches at night.
I'd scream this from the rooftops if I could. Packing lunches at night when the day is done is way more relaxing than doing it in the morning. When we're in the midst of dinner clean up, I take the extra 10 minutes to pack their lunches for the morning. Think about it: the kitchen is still a mess. The dishwasher hasn't been turned on. The timing couldn't be more perfect.
2. Get input from your kids.
Ponder this: you're at a restaurant thinking about what you're in the mood for and before you get a chance to order, the food is brought to you. It may be delicious, but it may not be what you wanted. This is what kids experience regularly - especially preschoolers. It's part of the deal of being a kid, with experienced, responsible adults doing the planning for you. I get that. I decide what my kids eat for dinner every night. But lunch is different. There are several reasons why I let my kids plan their own lunches. One of the big ones is that it makes them feel independent and in control of a small part of their school experience. The lunch room is a social place, and that begins the moment they start eating as a group. I want my kids to feel empowered there, and letting them use the LaLa Lunchbox app to have a voice in their food makes it easy for everyone. Here's an added bonus: it takes the guess work out of my job. After a long day of work and parenting, I simply don't have the creativity to magically come up with something each kid will enjoy. By letting the kids plan their foods in advance (from choices that I've approved and selected), I don't have to reinvent the lunch wheel night after night. Phew.
3. Keep it simple.
There are unbelievably lovely lunches to peruse on Pinterest and Instagram. I love to look at those, but I also know that keeping things simple is my reality. Most of the time, our lunches are straightforward foods, simply packed into lunchboxes (here are my favorites). Look closely at this lunch: there's nothing fancy here. Those eggs are on a couple of lollipop sticks, and everything else is just plainly placed into tidy sections. You really don't need to bust out your cookie cutters and sharpen your knife skills to send your preschooler off with a lovely lunch. Need a little inspiration? Here you go.