If your little one is about to head off to school for the first time, they are in for a lot of adjustments! Most of the changes will be exciting, but they’ll also be a bit daunting. Anything you can do as a parent to prepare your big kid for their first day will help them ease into this life-changing transition.
A Facebook post from Julie New Harbaugh, written when her son was heading into kindergarten, blew up thanks to her helpful tip about getting kiddos ready for school lunchtime. Harbaugh suggested rehearsing “school lunch” with your kid before their first day so they’ll be used to everything from using their lunchbox to the unfamiliar time constraints they’ll be under while eating.
“Practice eating ‘school lunch’ with your kiddo,” she wrote in the viral post. “Make sure they can open everything you send with them. Talk about not eating off of the table in the lunchroom! Set a timer for 15 minutes and talk about how they may not finish eating and that’s ok. (This was HARD for little man.) Practice packing everything back up and talk about what is trash and what should come back home in their lunch box.”
Harbaugh pointed out that not only will your child be better prepared if they practice how lunch period will go, but school employees will likely be grateful for your effort.
“Kindergarten lunch is a big adjustment and your child’s teacher will be super appreciative if you have prepared them for the experience,” she wrote.
This wise advice resonated with a lot of parents, as the post was shared 52,000 times and attracted roughly 8,000 comments in the first two days after Harbaugh posted it. Caregivers sounded off in the comments section, praising her idea.
“Great idea, as the little ones just don’t know what to do at first and with all the new things to learn, knowing how to open [their] lunch pail and what to do next will ease some of the anxiety for the child,” one person wrote.
A longtime education professional noted that kids do often struggle come lunchtime.
“What a great lesson! I worked at schools for 27 years, the little ones do have a difficult time,” they wrote.
Prepping A Healthy School Lunch
Parents might need a little help adjusting to their child’s new lunch habits, too. Simplemost spoke with registered dietitians and nutritionists about what should and shouldn’t make its way into your child’s lunch box.
Major takeaways include foods that are slow-releasing, meaning they’ll give your kids energy throughout the day as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. The experts also recommend avoiding pre-packaged snacks.
A practice run could be good for parents as well as kiddos. Back-to-school time is an adjustment period for everyone involved, but don’t worry — you’ve got this!
Here’s to a successful school year!