It’s that time of year again. You see it in almost every store you walk into, the commercials on TV, the adds on the internet …
Parents everywhere are smiling and gasping at the same time. Summer does fly by, but most kids get bored being at home and let’s face it, they need to work those little brains. Kids in some states have already headed back, but here in Michigan, my daughter returns to school just after Labor Day.
Generally, we let her pick out most of her stuff: clothes, backpack, pencil holder, and maybe a lunch bag. And this year I was shocked to learn she wanted a lunch bag because last year she always bought school lunch. Something to which I might add makes me relieved. Maybe I am just a tired working mom who despises packing school lunches? Maybe I just want to ensure she eats? Whatever the real reason, having my kid buy a school lunch does make my life a bit easier, here’s why:
1.) She gets more variety from the school lunch. This is a big one. When my daughter brought her lunch from home during kindergarten, I can remember always trying to spice up what she ate at the beginning of the year. Turns out, the only time she ever ate her food was when I packed a PB&J or a salami sandwich. By the end of the year, she was burnt out from the same old thing. But since she’s a super picky eater, I wanted to ensure she actually would eat what I packed, so the same boring thing was what she’d get.
When she entered first grade she was all about buying school lunch. It made grocery shopping easier — I never had to worry about forgetting to buy her lunch items. And I saved a little more on my grocery bill due to this. Of course, school lunches aren’t free, but I’m sure it all balances out in end. Sort of.
2.) I never have to worry about forgetting her lunch. Since my husband and I both work outside of the home, we drop my daughter off and send her on her way. I can honestly admit she has never gone without lunch. Yes, we did good her first year by being diligent parents, but last year was easy peasy since she always bought lunch. Especially since I receive a notification when her school lunch fund is getting too low. And, the school will allow her a couple of free passes should she run out of money. This guarantee that she’ll always have something to eat at lunchtime is a sanity saver.
3.) She gets to choose what she eats. And bonus, she’ll eat it! The school lunch program is not like it was when I was a kid. It is much more nutritious and still gives kids fun choices. She often raves about her lunch when we ask her what she ate and this is just an added bonus. In kindergarten, she’d never throw out her used bags. So many times when packing her lunch for the next day, we’d have to throw out her half-eaten sandwich, sometimes the entire thing from the day before. Usually, she’d just eat the snack items we would pack. Any time we’d ask her why, she’d reply with, “I am tired of that.”
Allowing her to purchase a school lunch gives her control. And she very much likes having control, as many kids do.
I did buy her a lunch bag for the new school year, whether or not it’ll go to use is yet to be determined. She has said that this year she’ll go back and forth between buying and bringing. But, I’m guessing after a couple of days of salami sandwiches, her lunch buying days will likely start back up.