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Kids Should Be Packing Their Own Lunches By Age 8

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Let's admit it, packing school lunches is the worst. Parents are constantly trying to pack a lunch nutritious enough that it will fuel their child for the entire day but tasty enough that their child will actually eat it. Almost every parent knows the frustration of having a lunch bag returned at the end of the school day that looks like it was hardly touched as their kids complain about having nothing 'good' to eat. There's finally good news for all those parents who are simply frustrated by making school lunches because it turns out your kids should be making their own.

In order to help your children become "independent thinkers" and "problem solvers" California pediatrician Dr. Damon Korb told Australia's Today show that children over the age of eight years old should be making their own lunches. "When we think about what we do when we make lunch, it requires planning and it requires problem-solving," Dr. Korb told the talk show. He said that by having children plan and make their own lunches they're forced to think more about how much they need to pack, whether they're packing a lunch that their parent would approve of, and they also understand that if they've run out of something they need to alert their parent.

“Those kinds of planning skills are important to be developed in kids and the everyday task of making a lunch [is] the way to do it…When kids do things for themselves, they feel proud," Korb added. "Our job as a parent is to coach them and teach them to do these things effectively and correctly.”

Understandably many parents are concerned that their child simply wouldn't be able to handle the responsibility. Many assume their child would pack the remnants of their Halloween candy, a bag of chips and a juice box if left to their own devices, but Dr. Korb thinks letting kids made their own lunches is how they learn responsibility. “Learning happens by experiencing and making mistakes, and if we're doing everything for our kids, we're depriving them of their opportunity to learn.”

The author of Raising an Organized Child states that "the broad goal of parenting is to prepare kids for launch. We want to create independent thinkers and problem-solvers, so they can be ready for the real world. If we do everything for them, they never get there." Korb explains in his book that allowing a child to make their own lunch simply allows them to gain greater independence, which is really the goal most parents have for their children. "It's things like, 'Gosh, I'm going to be running a lot today at school. I should probably pack two drinks instead of one,'" Korb says, adding that it requires them to plan and problem solve. "Even little things, like when a child puts healthy foods in their lunch, they're using their planning skills," he says. "Eating healthy is not immediately rewarding. It's long-term rewarding. We should acknowledge that."

Do you think children as young as eight years old should be making their lunch or is that a chore best left up to the adults?

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