When kids are forced to pack their own lunch — FranklyStein

LunchThe other day, as my youngest was making his lunch, he told me his friends at school always say, “I wonder what my mom packed for me for lunch today?”

He says back, “I wonder what I packed for myself for lunch today?”

Several years ago, I decided it was time for my kids to make their own lunches. I think someone told me they were more likely to eat their lunch if they made it themselves, so I went with it. My youngest was in third grade at the time. Sometimes I'd help him, but he was quite capable of the task. He even liked it at first.

These days he doesn't pack much — usually just a sandwich and a granola bar. He says that's all he needs, but he might just be too lazy to pack more. I wish he'd pack fruit, but I don't insist. He would probably just throw it away. So I try to make sure he gets his fruit at breakfast and dinner.

This summer, a friend of mine told me that her son — a couple of years younger than mine — was amazed that my son packed his own lunch for the pool every day, and that he even brought his own money for the snack bar.

I'm not sure if this makes me a good mom for instilling independence or a bad mom for being lazy. Another friend often starts a countdown with the number of school lunches she has left to make each year, and I've asked her why she didn't just turn the task over to her kids. Her reply was that she felt it was something she should do for them.

The other morning when Jonah was talking about having to make his lunch, I asked him if he thought that I loved him any less because I didn't make his lunch for him. Luckily he answered no.

“I love you even though I don't make your lunch,” I told him. “Maybe not making your lunch means I love you even more than the kids whose moms make their lunch every day.”

He looked at me like I was a little bit crazy. But I think he secretly likes that he has to make his own lunch. Yesterday, I saw him slipping in a few extra pieces of Halloween candy — certainly more than I wold have packed for him if I'd been making his lunch.

To read more FranklyStein click here

Fam2016 W

FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.