If you have a preschooler or kindergarten aged child heading off to school for the first time this year, you’ll already understand when I say that it’s a big transition – for everyone.
I remember when my kids went off for the first time. Preschool was only a few hours a day, a couple days a week. Even in kindergarten mine were still only in for a few hours a day.
Now, kids are often heading off for the full day which means that you are helping them learn to manage themselves in a way that may be new for everyone.
Eating lunch was one of the hardest transitions for my kids because not only does the time go by quicker than they expected (especially for my youngest who is a slow eater), but they sometimes didn’t realize the importance of eating the food that was sent. They would spend too much time talking to friends and forget to eat, or they didn’t feel hungry enough so didn’t fill up, not realizing that after lunch there was no additional snack time. They did, and still do, come home absolutely hungry.
However, over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to help them manage their time better at meal times at school, especially when they were younger. Here are a few tips:
1- Test out a container before you send it
Can they open it themselves? My son would likely not have asked for help and just skipped a snack that was trapped in a container he couldn’t open. This includes drink containers and Thermos containers. I know you want to keep the food sealed, but if you close it too tight, they’ll likely need help.
2- Encourage them to participate in the lunch making process
Whether they help by getting something out of the fridge, or by being more specific about what type of snack they want (ask questions like “which fruit today, strawberries or grapes?”) they’ll be comfortable with what’s in their lunch box.
3- More small bites
As adults, we often eat a sandwich and one side and call it lunch. Kids, especially little ones, seem to like to take a few bites of a variety of things. I think this is why the Bento style lunch wave does so well with kids at school. Lunch containers that again are easy to open but have the separate containers are helpful.
Have you seen the YumBox? I love these! You can find them at Tag Along Toys online or in store.
I found that it took a little while for both my kids to get into a lunch time or snack time routine when they first went to school. Even now that they are older, they came home hungry since they didn’t have access to food at any moment of the day like in the summer!
Here’s hoping your little one is ready to open that lunch box up and gobble what they see!
If not, my final tip: Feed them immediately when they get home 😉
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