Empower your kids by giving them responsibility for their lunches. These lunch box packing tips for kids will help.

A lunch featuring salami and cheese rollups, Goldfish and cookies.

There comes a time in a kid’s life when they are ready for more responsibility. And when a parent lets them have it, it does them some goods.

Kids who participate in lunch box packing learn how to feed themselves, a key skill as they grow. And when a parent stays involved in the process, there are so many teachable moments too.

Professional parenting educator Vicki Hoefle says that having kids take on lunch packing is a simple but beneficial habit that can easily become part of the morning routine for families.

She’s a proponent of what she’s dubbed Duct Tape Parenting — the antithesis of Helicopter Parenting — and encourages parents to empower kids with the tools to become responsible, resilient people.

Hoefle offered a few tips to help kids pack their own lunch boxes.

A lunch featuring a sandwich, strawberries and cookies.

Keep Things Within Easy Reach

If you want your kids to pack their lunches, they will need to be able to get with all the delicious edible components. “Keep everything your child will need to make lunch within easy reach,” says Hoefle.

Keep Lids and Boxes Together

You know that frustration you feel when you find 10 containers and no lids that fit? Well, imagine being a kid and having that happen. “Avoid the frustration of matching lids to the right container and stock one drawer so that kids can easily find what they need without having to ask for your help,” says Hoefle.

Stock Up

When kids are packing their own lunches, you can’t afford to run out of bread, lunch meat or whatever is needed for a good lunch. “Fill the necessary drawers with the easy reach foods your children will need to pack,” says Hoefle.

Practice Smart Snacking

Snacks are important — but they should be healthy snacks. Avoid filling the kitchen with sugary treats. Instead, offer fun alternatives like dried fruits and yogurt tubes. “Set the tone for a healthy lunch by offer ‘treats’ you can live with. This will get them excited to pack their lunch,” says Hoefle.

Start Small

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither will your child’s lunch packing career. So start small by allowing your kids to pack their lunches a few times a week. And then work up to more frequently — if it works. “Don’t set out on this challenge of incorporating a new habit without setting some realistic goals. There will be good and bad weeks,” says Hoefle.

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