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As we make the move from summer back to school, it can be tricky to understand how we got the child with a specific misbehaviour. It’s as if this behaviour was handed to the infant just prior to the stork gathering up the bundle and dropping it in the cabbage patch for us to discover.
‘My child just won’t remember her lunch.’
‘My son will not practise the piano.’
‘I’m not sure how I got the kid who doesn’t do homework.’
Temperament plays a factor in every human. Statistically, one in four children will be a pleaser, two in four will go along with some motivation and the last one will fight things tooth and nail. If you happened to be blessed with a child in the latter category, it is going to take a great deal more structure and consistency to get through to that one. That’s what we call parenting.
At Parenting Power, we believe that kids are capable. Capable of meeting our expectations and of learning from their parents.
If parents declare the fact, ‘My daughter always forgets her lunch,’ they are correct. She will believe them. She will live that declaration passionately.
Parenting is about taking responsibility to expect our kids to be capable of learning and to encourage them with words and actions that say, ‘I know you can do this. I know you can learn and I’m here to teach you.’
For many kids, it is not until we expect them to practice piano, take responsibility for their stuff and/or do homework that it will happen. Then, we need to work with our kids to develop a plan for that to happen. If your child knows that all they have to do is create a big fuss about doing homework, or ignore it and put up with your ranting in order to get out of it, you have taught them well. You need to take the time to teach the right way for homework to happen (or clean up, or piano, or dishes or whatever it is in your house.)
We can choose to play the role of victim and claim that we just got the kid who won’t clean up. Or we can take responsibility for the situation and make a plan to teach our child how to clean up—and what the expectations and the consequences are. How will we teach this task? What amount of time do we need to work on this with our child? How do we schedule that?
This is real life parenting: communicating clearly, acknowledging feelings and using language that encourages our kids to do what needs to happen in real life. They don’t have to like loading and unloading the dishwasher. They need to know that complaining about it won’t make the task go away. Doing the task is what makes it go away…until tomorrow.
Need some help? We’re here.
Your children average 6.5–8.5 hours away from you each day, which makes it very hard to ensure that they are getting a properly balanced diet and are making the healthiest food choices. As parents we set out with the best intentions of making nutritious lunches but often find ourselves bored with the daily task of finding or creating fresh ideas that are both safe for school (nut-free), and that your children will actually eat.
Children who eat healthier, balanced snacks and lunches and who stay hydrated throughout the day experience less fatigue, have lower obesity rates, and have better focus, engagement, and fewer meltdowns.
Here are seven simple steps to a healthier lunch and more nutritious day for your little ones:
1) Breakfast starts with a capital B for BEGIN here.
It may sound cliché, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day—the main reason being that it helps to better regulate your blood sugar and sets the tone for sugar cravings and energy throughout the day.
Some quick and delicious breakfast ideas for a healthy start to the day:
2) Fully embrace your school’s no-waste lunch policy and invest in a great quality lunch container.
Did you know that it is estimated that the average school-aged child using disposable lunch containers and bags generates 67 pounds of waster per year? That adds up to 18,760 pounds of waste for the average-size elementary school! I have two lunch boxes that are my absolute favorite for my kids (and they love them too).
Laptop Lunch Boxes and Planet Box My children ages 7 and 9 have each had of both these containers since their first birthday and they are still in fantastic shape!
What makes these containers so incredible is that everything is portioned out in compartments just like a bento box and you know kids – if it looks like something fun and is organized in a cool way they are way more cooperative to be on board for actually eating the food within the compartments.
3) Focus on adding in more fresh fruits and vegetables to their lunch and sprouted grains (or those that are naturally gluten free such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat and millet). Choose breads and wraps that are sprouted and or have true food ingredients that you can understand. Add in more plant-based foods like beans and lentils and small portions lean protein like organic eggs, lean chicken, turkey, and grass-fed beef. Opt for healthy fat sources such as seed butters, and avocados, and when dressing for pasta and quinoa salads choose healthy oils like olive oil or pumpkin seed oil. Work hard at limiting their intake of processed foods, deli meats, canned fish more than 1x weekly, white pasta or processed breads, sodium, sugar, anything with artificial colors, flavoring or additives and especially tartrazine.
4) Balanced morning and/or afternoon snacks.
Some of my favourite balanced snack ideas:
5) Pack lunches they will eat…and that will satisfy them.
Here are my top five go-to lunches that I know my kids will gobble up:
6) Make two meals at once. Probably hands down the easiest way to take an extra job off of your hands and get lunches made quickly and easily is to make enough at dinner that you can automatically have enough for leftovers. I place the kids’ lunch boxes behind their dinner plates and as I serve up their meal, I also serve up their lunch!
7) Keep them hydrated. Make sure your children are hydrated throughout their school day by sending them with a stainless steel or covered glass water bottles of at least 750 ml. I can’t stress enough how very important this is.
Chia Oat Jar
Prep and Cook:
Chocolate Monkey Smoothie
Prep and Cook:
Oatmeal Protein Pancake
Prep and Cook:
Chickpea Smash Green Wrap
Prep and Cook:
We’ve assembled a select group of experts on parenting topics that affect all ages and stages of a child’s development. From sibling rivalry, sleep deprivation to nutrition, our savvy experts have your parenting dilemmas covered. (We know they’ve helped us with ours.) Let us know if they are helping you with your dilemmas by commenting.