One Simple Way to Empower Kids’ Independence and Friendships

by Meghan

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Thank you Mardi Gras Napkins for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to get the conversation going in your home!

“Mom, Annie’s mom puts notes in her lunch box for her everyday.” This wasn’t the first time my 6 year old had mentioned this touching gesture from her friend’s mom. Who has time to write a lunch note for kids every morning??? Most days, I was doing well just to get all three kids out the door WITH their lunches and shoes on… and that was with just two in school. This year, I’ll have three kids in three different schools. I decided it was time to start empowering them to help themselves -starting with packing their own lunches, complete with a lunch note they can share with their friends. Get your FREE printable What to Pack for School Lunch checklist and learn how to make a daily lunch note for kids work for you!

Empowering Independence with Lunch Checklist

This Fall, I’ll have a first grader, a kindergartener and a preschooler. If that isn’t overwhelming enough  because our school district has a separate school just for kindergarten, all three kids will be at different schools. My head is already spinning just staring at the school calendars, and classes haven’t even begun.

I consider it an important part of my job as a mom to empower my kids to be independent, and ultimately work myself out of a job. And let’s be honest, staring at this school year, I will take all the help I can get to move everyone out the door in the morning. One of the more stressful parts of the morning routine is packing lunches. I created a checklist so the kids would know what to pack for school lunch and could do it themselves!

What to Pack for School Lunch

Left to their own devices, they would pack their school lunches full of snacks everyday. I empower their independence by defining the options but allowing them to make the specific choice within each category. As long as they are taking a main course, two fruits and vegetables, and a snack, they can choose anything they want.

I still help with cutting up fruits, cheese, prepping sandwiches; but they bring out all the supplies, and pack everything into their lunch boxes.

Lunch Note for Kids: Sparking Conversation and Friendships

The final checklist item? A lunch note for kids. Before they can zip up their lunch boxes, they have to show me the contents to get their lunch note. Mardi Gras napkins has made this even easier for me (and moms everywhere) with their fun Conversation Starter napkins.

I check their lunch contents, and top it with a Conversation Starter napkin, before they zip it up and head out the door. They love to read them right away, and it sparks fun family conversation on the way out the door and the whole way to school. They also can’t wait to share them with their friends in the cafeteria at lunchtime!

Find Mardi Gras Napkins with Conversation Starters for back to school at your local retailer.

How do you streamline your back to school morning routine? Find more of my 30+ favorite mom hacks I learned from my Grandmother (who had 8 kids and 17 grandchildren) here. You can find more of our favorite Practical Parenting and Mom Hacks on our Pinterest boards.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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