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I don't have time to count how many school lunches I have packed over the years. The number is HIGH! I actually enjoy packing lunches for my kids, but on the days I work outside the home as a school nurse….mornings can be hectic. Over the years I have learned that I can't do it all. One way to lighten my load a tiny bit was when I realized it was okay to teach your kids to pack their own lunch! It is a great skill for kids to learn and it can teach them a lot about nutrition and responsibility.
The first day of school will be here before you know it. That is such a busy day with special first day of school photos, making sure all the supplies are in the backpack and more! It is not the best time to teach your kids to pack their own lunch, LOL! Go ahead and teach them NOW they will be ready to kick off the school year right.
How to Teach Your Kids to Pack Their Own Lunch
Give Them a Lesson
Sometimes I assume that my kids know things that they don't. It usually ends up causing issues and misunderstandings. Don't assume that your kids know how to properly pack their own lunch even though they have been eating the lunches you packed for them for years!
Sit your kids down and give them a quick lesson. It isn't hard and won't take long. Talk about the 4 areas they need to focus on: the main dish, a fruit, a veggie and a treat/snack item.
Remind them that they will need to put a cold pack into the lunch box if they have cold items. A drink should go in too unless they will get a milk from school.
I like to also tell them to put a napkin in the lunchbox in case things get messy! Help them think through whether they will need a spoon or fork based on what they are taking that day.
Keep Food Handy
It is easy for kids to pack their own lunch if lunch foods are handy. I like to have a variety of things available during the school year so they don't get sick of eating the same thing over and over again.
I keep a basket in the pantry with an assortment of grab and go items they love. Easy is key when kids are packing their own lunch.
One thing that I always stock up on when I am at Dillons for my weekly shopping trip is RITZ Filled Sandwich Crackers. My kids love both the Peanut Butter RITZ Filled Sandwich Crackers and the Cheese RITZ Filled Sandwich Crackers. Both varieties are a staple in our their lunches.
Use a Visual Aid
Visual aids are helpful especially when kids are just starting to pack their own lunches. I made a simple “I Can Pack My Own Lunch” printable to hang on the board in our kitchen. This helps them remember what needs to go in their lunch.
You can print one off to use yourself. Just click the image below to download this printable to use with your kids.
Do a Double Check
I think it is a good idea to double-check your child's lunch occasionally when they are just starting out. Kids get in a hurry too and they may not take the time to check the chart and make sure they are packing a well-balanced lunch. It is also a great time to slip a note into their box once in a while to brighten their day!
Does Your Child Pack Their Own Lunch?
Did you teach your kids to pack their own lunch? What age did they start? Do your kids have favorite foods for lunch? Be sure to grab some RITZ Filled Sandwich Crackers next time you are in a Kroger/Kroger Family Store. I found my RITZ crackers at my local Dillons. Find your local Kroger/Kroger Family of Stores to get your RITZ crackers HERE!