Keeping kids interested in their lunchbox contents can sometimes test parents' patience, so we've come up with some back to school ideas to help keep their lunches fun and varied.
School lunch tips
- Create a meal plan for each week so you know what needs to be brought each week
- Plan for healthy lunches and snacks for the kids lunchboxes
- Keep it interesting: The first step in getting your child to eat all their lunch is to make them excited about it!
- There are so many inventive ways of jazzing up your child’s lunch. Use a thermos to keep food warm until lunchtime (mac and cheese anyone?) or turning food into different shapes is a sure fire way to keep your child interested.
- Keep it cool: Keeping your kids lunch cool can be delicious too. Freeze a bunch of grapes; place them in a zip-lock bag to keep the rest of their lunch fresh and cool. Then they’ve got a snack at the end of it too! A frozen drink bottle will also act as an ice pack but melt into nice, cool water by lunch.
- Do it yourself: Really impress your kids by making all their favourite treats yourself! If they have a hand in making them, they’re even more likely to eat them. You could make your own healthy chips for the lunchbox by using thinly sliced kumara, apple, carrot or tearing up kale leaves into a few small pieces - just rub in a little olive oil, and bake in a hot oven until crispy. Kids will love them!
Start the school term off the right way with our useful back to school advice.
Make the first day easier
- Set a scheduled bedtime and wake-up routine the week prior to heading back to school
- Have a chat with your kids discussing what the first day of school may or may not look like so they feel a little more prepared
- If you think your child might feel anxious about heading back to school or their first day at school ask them how they’re feeling and encourage them to speak openly about this with both yourself and their teachers
- If your child will be starting at a new school arrange for a visit to the school prior
- Create an afterschool schedule which includes a combination of play, relaxation, study and of course healthy snacks
- Create an inbox (small box or bag somewhere which is easy for you to both find) so they can pop permission slips and school notices in there
- Check your kids wardrobes and donate anything they do not wear or have outgrown
- Mark a calendar early on with all of the significant dates in your kids school year e.g. holidays, parent teacher days etc
- Pop all of your child’s vaccination and important papers in one simple file for easy access
The night before
- Encourage your kids to lay out their school clothes the night before
- Have your kids pack their school bags before they go to sleep that night
- Set clocks forward 10 minutes – this makes it easier to be on time
- Make sure your kids (and you!) have an effective wake up alarm that works for them
School supplies and homework
- Get your kids excited about going back to school by letting them pick their own stationary when shopping
- Shop for school supplies early to beat the crowd and reduce stress on both you and your kids
- Help the little ones get settled into their school routine by sticking an illustrated checklist on their walls
- Schedule study blocks on the weekends before big tests and exams
- Help your kids set goals for the year to get them excited about what they can achieve
- Prepare a study area in your home where everything that could distract your kids are removed
Make the most of the holidays
- Do something fun to diffuse this stressful time of year for the family, like mini holidays and camping trips
- Get your kids involved in programs that they can do after school to keep active
- Visit cultural attractions like museums to shift your child’s mind into “scholar” mode
- Try apps like iHomework or MyHomeWork to help your kids organise assignments
- Refresh your rules about screen time for the school year before the first day
- Arrange play-dates with two or three of your kids’ friends to rebuild existing social ties
- Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending and it will rub off on your kids
- Let your kids know summer isn’t over by making a habit of getting outside together every day after the school day ends