Did you ever wonder what to put in a lunch box to ensure your kindergartner eats lunch at school? I think of all of my favorite things to do at my job with the school district…it’s helping kindergartners. There is SO MUCH adjustment for them and my heart just cries for those little baby dolls. Some are happy and excited, some are scared, some are lonely (missing their family). It’s just a HUGE adjustment. I guess it’s the Mommy/Grammy in me that wants to scoop them up and say “it’ll be ok!” with a big hug and a smile.
Part of my job is monitoring the lunch room, umm this can get craaazy…and LOUD. Yesterday was the first day for our Kindies and every year I observe what makes a successful lunch box. I also observe what kids usually eat all of their lunch and are happy and full while others struggle and are hungry and tired.
Like I said before the lunch room can be a crazy place. I don’t mean like really crazy, but loud and distracting. Kids are excited to be out of a quiet classroom on one hand, but on the other hand the lunch room is not at all like the classroom where everyone has their own place to sit etc. Our lunch room is orderly…to a certain extent BUT….
Kindergartners are new to the whole lunch room scene and these tips will help them eat well and be happy little campers at school.
So today I want to give you some ideas for making sure your kindergartner eats lunch at school.
Picture in Lunch Box
~ I hate to say it, many kindergartners are super sad and cry through lunch. Especially at first when there are so many new things going on around them. I suggest having a picture of yourself tucked or taped into the lid of your child’s lunch box. You can just use a photo sleeve like the one below, then when they open it at lunch, you are the first person they see! Now, side note…you know your child. Don’t do this because it’s a cute idea. If it’s going to make them more sad…skip it. They won’t eat if they are crying.
Send food they like
~ Now is not the time to try a lot of new “lunch box” foods. Give them what they’ve always eaten for the first few weeks of school. Although you may be super excited to pack new items in there lunch box…they may not be as thrilled and they need familiarity right now. If simply can’t help yourself, have them help you make it and only ONE new lunch box food.
Easy to access food
~ Ok this is kind of a biggie! Kindergartners need to learn how to open simple foods such as fruit snacks, go gurts and things like that. At our school we have SIX kindergarten classes eating lunch at the same time. We have only 2-3 staff in the lunch room to help with clean up, spills, tears, potty breaks and opening foods etc. One of the best things you can do is to teach them how to open many of these items at home. Of course we help them BUT sometimes if there are many that need help and they have to wait, many will simply put it back into their lunch box OR throw it away!! Yep this happens all the time.
Easy to open containers
~ Whoosh, some of the containers that we put our little’s food in are great for the fridge but seriously, sometimes I have a hard time opening them. Make sure you have easy opening containers…another practice session would be good with the kiddos. The lunch boxes that I have seen that are super easy to open are these Bentgo lunch boxes. All the food is separated and kept cold. The most efficient and easy to carry that I’ve seen, are these carrying bags to put the Bentgo’s into. Of course get what’s best for you!
Don’t overload the food
~ Ok, I’m a foodie through and through AND I’m sort of fanatical about my kids eating enough food, BUT some of the lunches I’ve seen packed for these little guys are more than my teens would eat at one sitting. Want to know why this is important? It’s overwhelming for a child so small to open a lunch box and see 10 items all in adult size portions…many simply don’t know where to start and will pick one thing out (usually the dessert or least healthy item) and close their lunch box never to look into it again that lunch. I know you want your child to eat, but …Keep it simple…know how much your child REALLY eats.
Just a suggestion…don’t send soup in a thermos with kindergartners. It’s too much for them to manage.
EASY open water/juice bottle
~ Although Capri Suns may seem convenient…I’m sure you know…they are not easy for little ones to get the straw into…umm not for adults either! LOL
There are tons of easy open and close water/juice bottles but we like the Contigo bottles. These are the ones my grandkids use (Amazon has tons of cute ones):
Those are my suggestions for ensuring that your Kindergartner eats lunch at school. There’s no way around it, this is just a big transition time for getting used to school and eating pretty independently, but I’m confident that with the help of lunch room helpers and following these few guidelines your little ones will gobble up their food and be happy as clams!
Although your Kindergartner may not be able to read, here are some cute printable lunch box notes!
If your child is in my lunch room…I’ll read the little notes to them!
Need some lunch box ideas?
Have a blessed day!
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