Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DiscoverTEDDY #CollectiveBias
Part of living Montessori for me has been setting up our home to empower my daughter to be independent when she chooses, rather than needing me to “set up” opportunities. It’s become second nature to set up cupboards for her to self-serve with – and as a result, getting her to “help herself” has never been a battle.
Today, I’m excited to share with you a quick video of how our snack bins and lunch-making station empower my daughter to help make her lunches – along with a quick run-down of the essentials you should consider when setting up a Montessori-inspired lunch making station for your kids!
I think it’s important to mention that my daughter doesn’t have to make her own lunches. It’s something she is empowered to do via her environment, but if she ever doesn’t want to or would rather I make her lunch, I never hesitate or have an issue with that.
My daughter’s personality is that she wants to do it herself – so if I didn’t have a space set up for her to make her lunches independently, she would constantly be asking for me to get the stuff for her so she could do it herself… I know from experience…
However, having her own lunch station allows her to practice her independence no matter what distraction I’m dealing with in the morning.
Watch a quick video of how easy she can make her own lunch with our lunch making set-up:
How a Kid-Friendly Lunch Making Station Works
Every week, we go grocery shopping and Ella helps decide on a few items and she is encouraged to pick out a few lunch items. (If she doesn’t, I just do it and any complaints are met with, “Next time we go grocery shopping, remember this and write what you want on the list.”)
When she gets to pick what goes in her lunches, she’s even more excited to pack them!
Last week, we found TEDDY Soft Bakes at our local Kroger. They are a light-textured, fluffy soft baked treat created in the shape of a bear with a filled center. They have Chocolate & Vanilla-filled and they are made with no high fructose corn syrup and contain no artificial flavors or coloring.
They were perfect for our snack bin this week as they already came individually portioned. (When snacks don’t come that way, we spend a bit of time on the weekend pre-measuring them into individual snack bags – this week we just had to organize our veggies and fruit.)
Pre-portioning out the fruit, veggies and snacks in advance helps encourage proper serving sizes and reduces the amount of work and decision making on busy weekday mornings. We often make the main dish in the morning, if she’s not having leftovers.
We usually do 3 days worth on Sunday (for Monday through Wednesday) and then do the final two days on Thursday mornings since we don’t have preschool children on that morning. (That’s just what works for us to ensure everything is fresh – definitely experiment and see what suits your family. My friend likes frozen fruit and veg so she can do the full week at once.)
Things to Consider When Setting Up a Lunch Making Station
The first few times your child makes their lunch, walk through the process with them. Note things that they aren’t able to do yet or struggle with and adjust the set-up to suit their abilities.
- Make sure everything they need is accessible and in one space
- Expectations are clear (we use the color coded containers to help indicate that one of each is needed so I don’t have to give reminders)
- Limits are clear (one item to be packed from each container, ie, one snack)
- The space is safe enough for them to be truly independent
- Everything has a clear space that is easy for kids to find, take out and put away without assistance (which often means less stuff can be in the space)
- The space is easy to clean
- Accessible to the child but not in the way of normal kitchen activities
Do your kids help make their own lunches? What are some current lunch box favorites at your house?