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6 Tips that will help you to Avoid Kids Lunchtime Drama.

Ways to tame lunch time drama with your kids

How to avoid Lunchtime drama with your Kids

It’s time to get the kids off to school-everyone is clean, dressed, and full-and just as you reach for the doorknob, a small but mighty voice behind you lets out a disappointed, “Awwwwwwwwww! You didn’t pack my lunch!”…and you didn’t, because Friday is pizza day and they love pizza day.

But, this Friday is meatloaf, and they don’t eat anybody’s meatloaf, not even yours. It’s too late, so you explain that sometimes we don’t get our favourite, yadda yadda, blah blah on the way to school and when they get home they are starving because they haven’t eaten since breakfast.

How does a meal that isn’t even taking place in your presence cause so much drama over and over again? You want your kids to eat, and they want to eat, just not THAT. We’ve come up with a few tips that we use in our homes to keep school lunchtime turmoil to a bare minimum and hope they help your school lunchtime go more smoothly for you and your kids.

1. Colour Code:

Every month the school sends home a menu, so what we do is assign each kid a coloured crayon {and we make sure to list their name in their colour to avoid any “No, I was blue” arguments mid month} and let them colour in a small portion of the days that they will want to take their lunch. Check behind them because we always have that one kid that wants to do something else, so they rush through and miss some of the days you KNOW they will want to carry a lunch.

2. In Plain Sight:

Place the menu on the refrigerator so that everyone knows where to find it.

When in Doubt, Print it out:
Sometimes they lose the menu. Sometimes the teachers forget. Either way, most school districts have a printable menu posted on their website. First, check the school’s website and if you don’t find it there, look at your school district’s web site…and bookmark it for future use.

3. Switch it up:

It’s easy to get in the sandwich rut, so what we do is on nights that we have leftovers that are the kids’ favourites (Country Fried Steak, Homemade Chicken strips, burritos, etc.) we’ll put some in their lunch for the next day. Just be sure to remember that the kids are often pressed for time at lunch, so any slicing up you can do in advance will make the home-cooked meal more manageable. Keep a box of plastic forks and spoons ($1) on hand to use for lasagna and other non-finger-friendly lunches.

4. Talk to your kids:

Find out what they actually want to eat. Sounds simple enough, right? If your kid is coming home famished, there’s a chance that some of the food you’re sending is getting tossed into the trash. Obviously, you get the final say, but let them have a voice in what they are taking.

5. Pre-portion:

I make the dessert for my kids’ lunches, about 75% of the time. However, the problem with making cookies and treats from scratch is that people like them—a lot. And, before you know it, they are gone and you have to cook more. I try to bake twice as much as I need and as soon as they are cool, I bag up enough to cover the week X’s number of kids. Also, once bagged, put them out of sight to avoid wandering snackers. Everything that is left over after we bag what we need for the week is open to the household.

6. Share Responsibility:

Kids can help with packing their own lunches. With a little help and guidance from you, they may very well end up looking forward to packing their own lunches.

In my household, I make any of the lunches that are leftovers but I let them get their drinks, napkins and desserts. I take turns with them on sandwich days, letting them make their own sandwiches, which has proven very interesting.

I have one that jumps at the chance to make themselves peanut butter and hot sauce sandwich…and eats every single crumb…who am I to judge?  As long as the food is properly packaged and the meal balanced {or mostly balanced}, there’s not much harm in letting them make their own lunch-and it gives them a much-needed sense of accomplishment.

These tips have made lunchtime a much less cringe-inducing topic around our houses, and we hope that they help around your house as well! At the end of the day, it boils down to being prepared and giving your kids a hand in their meal planning responsibility, which they will appreciate. Happy lunching!

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