Create A Kids' Lunch-Making Station In Your Fridge

Photo: Michelle Woo

From my informal survey of mums and dads, the worst part of school day mornings is packing school lunches. I’m not sure what makes it the most dreaded task — perhaps it’s the Groundhog Day nature of it all, or feeling like you’re a one-person inventory spreadsheet, or the inevitable complaints from little Hudson that he wanted roast beef and not turkey and now his day is the worst.

Here’s what you should do: Tell your kids, “You do it.”

Let children pack their meals themselves by setting up a lunch-making station in your refrigerator. Just buy a few plastic bins and stock them with grab-and-go lunch components, like string cheese, yogurt pouches, or little baggies of fruit and veggies. Then place them on a refrigerator shelf that your kids can reach. You can create a similar setup in a low cabinet for non-refrigerated items — bread, muesli bars and savoury snacks. For the youngest kids, it might help to number the bins and tell them they must pack all six (or whatever number) items. Yes, you’re still doing some of the initial legwork, but they’re gaining autonomy by making sure their lunches are complete.

The system also lets you instantly see what you need more of, so there’ll be no surprises when the bus will be coming in 10 minutes. Give it a try. It is time to delegate and cross the worst morning task off your list.


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