As we search for any semblance of normalcy during this most un-normal of school years, might I suggest holding on to one routine that has traditionally eased the morning rush for parents? I’m talking about making the kids’ school lunches the night before.
Your kids’ schedules probably look a little (a lot) bonkers this year, whether they are learning remotely from home, on a hybrid schedule, or headed back to full-time in-person classes until they end up quarantined for two weeks after the positive COVID-19 cases start rolling in. Lunch does not need to add to the chaos.
Not only are the reasons it is normally a good idea to make lunches ahead of time still valid, we actually have additional reasons to stick with the routine right now. If your kids are going into school, your mornings are probably even more hectic than usual. We’ve never been more out of practice at this than we are right now.
And then there’s all the extra stuff we’ve got to remind them to take with them this year — masks and hand sanitiser and wipes to share with the class (if you can find them). For families operating on a hybrid schedule, it will be a constant struggle to remember what day it is and where everybody is supposed to be on said day; if lunch is already waiting in the refrigerator from the night before, that’s one less last-minute pressure point to manage.
If your kids are learning from home (part-time or all of the time), you might be inclined to put it off and make the lunch at lunchtime. But if you’re working from home while also trying to manage the countless distractions caused by their online learning, you just saved yourself one additional interruption that could equate to 10 precious minutes to finish a task or respond to a couple of emails in the middle of the work day.
Do I like making school lunches the night before? Not particularly, no. Making school lunches is among my least favourite chores. That’s probably because I spend plenty of time in my kitchen making food as it is — it’s a challenge for me to muster the energy to prepare a meal no one is actually going to consume until the next day.
But what I like even less than making lunches the night before is realising at the last possible second that I didn’t make them the night before and now I’ve got to scramble with the bread and the foil and the fruit. Or, these days, deal with my son knocking on my office door, desperate for food when I’m trying to finish writing a post.
So I offer this proposal: Give yourself one tiny bit of routine normalcy during this bizarre, inconsistent, unpredictable school year and continue to pack those lunches up the night before.