With a full house of six kids, getting ready for school each morning often presented more challenges for me than I was ready to handle before the sun came up. I’m not a morning person, so I struggled just to be alert and patient with hundreds of questions and complaints filling the air.
Even moms with half the kids I had feel like track athletes bounding out of bed, racing to stay ahead of the demands and needs nipping at our heels every morning.
One of my practical solutions was allowing my kids to make their own lunches while I worked on breakfast.
Starting in second grade, they selected a bag of chips, a drink box, another item, and then made a sandwich. Yes, the pb&j sandwiches needed some adult help, but the youngest ones felt all grown up making a lunch like their older siblings.
Now my oldest daughter who has five boys in school has taken it a step farther and made the process even better. Each of her boys has a cardboard box or a plastic container with their name on it.
You can let them decorate their containers for more personalization.
Breaking It Down
On Sunday evening, the boys get their boxes and begin filling them with five of each nonperishable item for the entire week: 5 bottles of water, 5 granola bars, bags of chips, pouches of applesauce, or whatever she has purchased in bulk for their lunches. (She is still in control ultimately because she buys!)
Make a check-list if you want, so your sweet tooth kid doesn’t pick only desserts, if you buy them at all. Then on each school morning, all that’s left is making a sandwich and getting it in the lunch sack or box and into the backpack. I thought it was a genius idea.
Some of mine regretted their Sunday choices and would have wanted to swap. You as the parent can allow last-minute changes or let your children live with their choices. Decide ahead.
Be in charge. It will help you anticipate the maneuvering and complaining that is sure to come.
In the end, helping kids prepare ahead like this doesn’t solve every early morning dilemma, but it does help.
Moms need all the help we can get, right?
Barbara Rainey, FamilyLife