Posts Tagged: family

School Lunches

Making school lunches seems to be an energy drain for most families. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some ideas to help you make 2015 a stress-free school lunch year:

1. Delegate

Sign them up for pizza lunch and accept all “bring a friend home for lunch invitations” they can wrangle!  Not every meal has to be as healthy as the menu at Canyon Ranch Spa. Balance their need for nutrition with your need for sanity.

2. One list & one rotation

Create a list together with your children of 5 lunches that they enjoy.  Most of our stress comes from thinking “WHAT CAN I MAKE FOR LUNCH TODAY?”  It’s the need to think creatively that exhausts us.  Well, I say forget creativity! You’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest. Go for a pragmatic formula instead. Research shows most families eat the same 4 or 5 meals over again and again for dinner. Why not apply the same principle to lunch?  Once you have the lunch list, your only work is in making sure the items are on the grocery list, and packing it.

3. Pack strategically

Don’t forget to label!

Mornings are a pressure keg. Take some of the stress off by packing lunches at some other time of day – maybe the most low-key time of your day is right after kids go to bed? Or pack them while you simmer dinner on the stove. Heck, why not pack three days worth of lunches at once?

4. Let the kid’s solve the boredom problem

If your kids complain they are tired of getting wieners and beans for lunch, explain you will happily remove them from the list of 5 lunches, once replacement school lunch recipes have been discovered. Have them scout out lunch options by looking at what their friends are packing. Imitation is the highest form of flattery isn’t it?

5. Pass the torch

Eventually, you’ll want your kids doing this job for themselves. That means you should spend time teaching your children to pack their own lunch, so you can pass the torch on to them.  Kids tend to eat better when they pack their own lunches, so the earlier the better!

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

Retiring the title of PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids)

Remember that time I wrote the blog post about The Great Baby Dilemma? Well, just 4 short weeks after that post was written, I found out I was pregnant.

For months prior to finding out, I felt disappointment whenever my period arrived. That was a sign that either my clock was ticking louder that I would allow it, or that I secretly did want to become a Mom. Having always been on the fence about children, my parents were surprised, but obviously happy to hear the news. In fact, so was I. The moment I saw that blue plus-sign on that pregnancy test, aka magical stick was the day I knew my life would be changed forever.

Being pregnant has presented many challenges; 12 weeks of morning sickness, pain and numbness in my left thigh followed more recently by both of my hands, dry skin, stretch marks, insomnia and the standard worries that come from carrying a baby. But, I keep telling myself that the payoff will be well worth it, but also that the challenges will continue to come. Parenting isn’t easy, but I’m ready for it.

In just three short weeks my boyfriend and I will welcome our baby boy and my nephews will get their first cousin. I will still be a wicked awesome Aunt, but my role will change as I will now fully understand the trials and tribulations of being a parent. I will see the world differently. In fact, I’ve already seen myself differently; I’m stronger than I thought I was, feeling vulnerable isn’t a bad thing, and my body is capable of housing a miracle.

To all the PANKS out there; keep up the great work. You’re impacting the life of your nieces and nephews just as they have and will continue to impact yours.

To all the Moms; I feel honored to be joining your ‘club.’ Wish me luck!

About the Author:

Diane Morris is (no longer) a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

How to Tell Your 10-Year-Old Santa Isn’t Bringing the Cell phone He or She Asked For

As soon as I post this, I am off to the mall to finish my holiday shopping.  It will be a leaner Christmas for the Schafer’s, but mostly because I bought myself a $1,000 emergency root canal last week. I can’t blame the economy on that.  I did share my thoughts on how to handle the money crisis and the upcoming holiday with children in yesterday’s Globe and Mail.  You can read it here if you’d like more information on the how to have the “money talk.”  (Gee, and we thought talking about sex was difficult!)

Frankly, I am happy to do some consumer downsizing and spend more of my energies on the other traditions that surround this season.  Here is some of what our family does:

  • I have bought each of my children a goat to give to another family through Free The Children. This is an organization my daughter is involved with, and a goat is a really tangible thing that they were thrilled to “get” for these other children.  (Yeah, I already told them. Couldn’t wait till the 25th!)
  • Last year I asked my daughter to give something to the families in Darfur (South Sudan) as her gift to me. That meant she had to do some research, and she was really moved but what she learned.  It was a gift to us both, really.  She was really proud to have sent her own money to their aid.
  • Every year my husband and I ask our children for something they have made themselves.They are 13 and 14 years old now, but I still keep this tradition going. Last year, I got a wonderful scrapbook that my daughter compiled called, “The 100 things I love about you.”  The year before, I received a tin box with a glass front, and inside the tin was a note that said, “We blew 100 kisses each into this box for you,” so I could have a kiss any time I needed one.

Be creative yourself in your quest to have the best holiday ever with your family.  If you really want those presents under the tree, see if Christmas lasagna could become a new tradition!  I think I spend more at the grocery store than the mall anyway.

However you go about it, remember that all of our stresses are in fact self-inflicted miseries.  I refuse to indulge myself that way. You always have the ability to control your attitude, regardless of how dire the situation.  Enjoy your family. That is all that matters.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

 

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