Lunch Monkeys

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Bart Simpson: And every night the monkey butlers will regale us with jungle stories.
Nelson: How many monkey butlers will there be?
Bart Simpson: One at first, but he’ll train others.
“The Simpsons” Das Bus (1998)

What I wouldn’t give for a set of monkey butlers, or maybe house fairies, to do daily chores at La Casa Harrington. We are a Love & Logic family so one of our primary goals is to teach our girls to be independent. Every once in a while I get side swiped with a realization, my girls are growing & changing *every single day*.

Would you like to ditch prepping school lunches each weeknight? Last month I stopped by a friend’s house and was floored to find out her five-year-old packs and plans her own lunches for the month. “Really?” I repeated over and over like a broken record. Her daughter is allowed to chose two school hot/cold lunch options per week. The remaining three days she makes her own lunch using a simple guide her mother created. Simply brilliant.

Download a copy of our family’s lunch guide. Everyone has different opinions when it comes to what is an acceptable combination of healthy items. You can easily create your own version of this guide with a quick table in Word (or you could even hand write it).

A couple of notes:

  • We have our girls chose a fruit *or* veggie. We focus heavily on these portions of the food pyramid at home, so we don’t push it in their school lunch. Warm, dry carrots just don’t compare to fresh, cool, crisp ones. I want our girls to enjoy veggies as much as I do so I am very cautious about how we approach eating them.
  • Have your child prepare their lunch early in the evening so you are not dealing with a tired, cranky mess.
  • Let go of your views of a traditional lunch spread, if the child is getting the nutrition they need; let them get funky.
  • Have them pack everything. Give them ownership of the project. We have PlanetBox lunch cases which are very easy. I highly recommend them! Children may initially need assistance using Ziploc bags or securing Tupperware containers.

If you have a tried & true routine I’d love to hear about it; let’s chat down in the comments. This is a new experiment at our household. If you have suggestions drop me a line. And no, I am not implying my little ladies are servant monkeys. I simply suggesting young children will take great pride in this simple task if you allow them to control the situation.

Wish me luck,

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Anton/1559107742 Carrie Anton

    I love this!

  • Martha

    This is an excellent idea! I think I may create my own chart because the first thing my son said when he saw the chart was “I don’t like goldfish!” And he really wants to help with packing his lunch!

  • AnnMarie

    I love your printable. I am blogging and connecting to you! Thanks much.
    A

  • Babs

    Just last night, I made my 5 yr old help me make his lunch. I wanted to make sure he knew what was going to be in it and if he had a hand in it maybe he would eat more of it. I will be tuning back in to see what other ideas are suggested. We have to pack his lunch becuase he is very sensitive to sugars, (even fruit) not diabetic but I follow that meal plan for him. so that limits it and then the list of things he won’t eat are long too.

    We packed 1/2 ham sandwich and salad w/chicken and cheese and snack is a few pretzels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anji-Wind-Spialek/1630551546 Anji Wind Spialek

    I love this idea, Zina! Packing lunches every morning is such a pain…