HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR A SUCCESSFUL LUNCHTIME AT SCHOOL

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Is your little one off to a full day of school? Will she be eating lunch at her new school? Here are some tips to make lunchtime predictable and successful for your child.  

  1. Use a simple lunch box.  (We use the Omie Box. Se my IG for a full, detailed tour of the box)  Cut everything up, unwrap it all.  

  2. Simple, easy to eat foods.  Nothing complicated or over the top.  Trust me, the teachers do not think you are a better mother if you pack the fanciest or healthiest lunch.  Pack a  nutritious lunch that your child can eat independently in a timely manner? Now you are impressing the teacher (not that you need to).

  3. Pack foods you want your child to eat in any order THEY choose.  If you will be upset that they ate dessert and not their apple slices, don’t pack dessert. Save it for when they get home.  They are exercising their independence when they eat lunch at school.  If you pack all foods that are acceptable to you, it is ok for them to chose the order in which they want to eat it.  

  4. Lower your expectations and expect them to come home hungry! School lunch is mostly just about being social and only a little bit about eating.  Knowing that, pack a punch with the snack you plan for when they arrive home.  

  5. PRACTICE!   Use your child’s lunch box at home.  Show them what their lunch box with their name on it looks like. Have them practice opening and closing the latches and containers at home.  Get them completely comfortable with it.  No surprises on that first day.  This is one unknown that you can get in front of.  

Do you want more back to school lunch tips? Head over to Instagram and check out  my IG stories! 

ITEMS WE ARE USING RIGHT NOW THAT CAN BE PURCHASED ON AMAZON

I've taken some time to round up the items that are most popular with my crew right now and put them all in one place for you. And, to make life easier, it can all be found on Amazon!! 


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OUTSIDE PLAY:

Strider Bike// This is Sloane's absolute favorite. 

Jungle Jumparoo// Fan favorite for all of the neighborhood kids. 

Whittling Knife// Spring winds are dropping lots of branches that are perfect for carving.

Sidewalk Chalk// Always.


ON OUR NIGHTSTANDS:

Swimmy  // This is one of my favorites from childhood.

Frederick // Another childhood favorite of mine that all three kids adore. 

 Frog and Toad //  We love reading this in the playroom or before bed.  Four stories in one! 

The Good Little Bad Little Pig  // This is SUCH a great book.  Do you know it? 

When Sophie Gets Angry  // I am always keeping this one handy. 

Sometimes You Get What you Want // A lesser know book that is a GEM.


IN OUR PLAYROOM:

Grimm’s Sticks  // I get so many questions about these sticks!

Marbles  // If you know us, you know these are in constant use! I think the kids are up to 160.  

Animals // My youngest is animal obsessed now.  

Magnatiles // I rearranged how we store these and it brought a new life into them! 

Play Silks // I changed these by putting them in a crate instead of hanging and now we can't get enough! 


ON OUR KITCHEN TABLE:

 Liquid Water Colors  // These florescent ones are the best!! 

Water Color Holder  // Beautiful and so well-made. 

Color Burst Sharpies  // For layering on our water colors. 

Chalk // The kids have been crushing chalk to make paint. 

 Mallet  // For crushing chalk not fingers.

Drop Cloth  // My favorite absorbent canvas.


These are affiliate links, which means a get a tiny kickback when you purchase from my list.  It does not cost you anything.  Thank you for supporting The Workspace for Children. 

-Lizzie 

SHOP MY FAVORITE QUIET TIME MATERIALS

QUIET TIME MATERIALS

These are our favorite materials for quiet time and independent play.  To read more about what quiet time looks like for us, click HERE.  If you want to shop these materials,  please click on each photo and it will take you to amazon to purchase. These are affiliate links, which means that I get a tiny kickback from Amazon, but it does not cost you anything.  I will add to this page as I discover and try more materials.

Let me know if you are using any of these materials!! Tag me in your photos or DM me so that I can share my screenshots in my IG stories.  -Lizzie 

SNACK TIME WITH THE WORKSPACE FOR CHILDREN

SELF-SERVE SNACK CABINET

Let’s talk about SNACK.

Do you ever feel like your child wants a snack EVERY SINGLE SECOND?  Are you constantly shopping for, prepping and then serving/ cleaning up snack? I have some tips to help out.  While I can’t claim to solve all of the snacking woes, I can show you how we organize our snacks to make eating them a bit of a more independent endeavor. 

Meet… our self-serve snack cabinet.  If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know our family has an open-ended art cabinet.  But did you know we have a snack one too?!  Snacks can be tricky.  I know a lot of parents who struggle with them-  the negotiating, the preparing, cleaning up, and then doing it all over again.  One way we battle this is with this self-serve station. 

In our snack cabinet, you will find a variety of shelf-stable foods that lean towards health (no candy) but aren’t strictly health food.  Usually there are pretzels, popcorn, nuts, fruit pouches, snack bars, seaweed packs, olives, and dried or dehydrated fruits.  I also keep mini water bottles, or a small pitcher of water and cups. 

I also store scissors and a marker in there.  Why? The scissors are so that they can open everything themselves.  The marker is to write their initial on their disposable water bottle so that they can refill it all day without taking another one. Also helpful when playdates are happening.  

Logistics of the snack cabinet:

We almost always have a variety of washed and cut fruit and vegetables in the fridge.  My children are mostly healthy eaters, and they enjoy raw veggies and fruit.  If that is available, they will almost always grab what’s in the fridge before heading into the snack cabinet.

The snack cabinet is most in demand during the afterschool hours.   On most days, I prepare a tray of fresh snacks for when the kids get home ravenous from school.  I’ll put cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies and some sort of dip out.  They chomp on that and then grab a snack from the snack-cabinet.

Limits

A lot of people ask me how I keep the kids from eating everything at once, or how to limit it.  The truth is, I don’t. I have always come at it from the place that if you are hungry, you should listen to your body and eat.  If you are thirsty, you should drink (unless we are on a long car trip in which case I am CRAZY and don’t let them drink a thing! Another story for another post). 

I buy healthy-ish snacks that I feel are appropriate an I trust my kids to eat what their body needs.  I don’t buy candy and junk food that I would need to put limits on.  If I do buy junk food, it doesn't go in the self-serve snack cabinet.

Of course, I do not want the children digging into the snack cabinet ten minutes prior to putting dinner on the table, or right before we are about to eat lunch. For the most part, they know that. If they forget, I will remind them.  When I don’t want them snacking I will say, “The snack cabinet is CLOSED right now.  It’s almost dinner!”.  Sure, I get groans and annoyed responses, I’m okay with that. 

My four-year-old is another story.  She has to ask before going into the cabinet.  I like to have a conversation with her about whether we are close to a meal-time and whether she has had enough fresh snacks that day.  It is less of a negotiation and more of an honest conversation.  Once we decide that the snack cabinet is “open” for her, she is free to choose whatever she would like. 

Because we have a self-serve snack cabinet, I almost never hear, “Mom, I need a snack.”They already know where to go and what to do. 

For reference, my oldest child is ten, followed by an eight-year-old and almost five-year-old.  We have had the snack cabinet in use since my oldest was just three years old.


Here is a clickable list of snacks that you will find in our snack cabinet:

Dole Fruit Cups  

Skinny Pop Snack Bags 

Almond Packs  

Pretzel Packs

Seaweed Snacks 

Granola Bar

Annie’s Snack Packs 

Do you have questions about our snack cabinet? Leave them in the comments below and I will answer you. Thank you for following along with me. Don't forget to join the conversation on Instagram.