Big, exciting, changes lie ahead for your little one as they go to nursery or (pre) school in September, whether they’re starting for the first time or going back after the long Summer holidays.
But getting ready for the September start-date not only means the practical side of what to pack in your lunch bag and how on earth you get name tags to stay on clothes all year! There’s also the emotional side of preparing your little one for going out on their own. Here at TUM TUM, between us, we’ve sent out quite a few of our children to school in recent years so we’ve pooled some advice and our top tips to help any of you facing this for the first time – we’re talking routine, what to pack and creative lunch boxes. We hope this helps!
Preparation starts early
Use the weeks leading up to September to prepare your little one for what’s around the corner. Talk to them about what their school day will involve, who will be there, and when they will see you again after you’ve said your goodbyes. One of our TUM TUM mums, Andrea in marketing, even went so far as doing a trial run one day so her boy, Sammy, could picture the building, the door he’ll go through and his playground. She says, “Pick up on the exciting elements like the fact that they can scoot to school (big plus in our house!), or that there’s a new slide in the playground or that they’ll have a new lunch bag, like TUM TUM’s Ladybird Lunch Bag, to carry with them with their packed lunch or snack. I found all this helped with any nerves.”
TOP TIP: The week before nursery or school starts aim for early nights and early mornings with activities planned first thing to get you fed, dressed and out the house early. Every bit of practice helps in getting out the door on time!
Prepare for mealtimes
Lunchtimes and snacks can sometimes be a bit of a worry for parents as you wonder whether your little one will find (and most importantly eat!) everything you’ve packed in their lunch bags. Suzanne, founder of TUM TUM, says, “We created TUM TUM after we saw our girls chasing food around their plates and struggling at mealtimes. We wanted to give them the right tools for the job so they could enjoy eating and be confident they could do it by themselves, particularly when they went to pre-school. Our no-spill water bottles, lunch boxes with dipping pots and scooping cutlery all make it that bit easier. And if you’re keen to pack hot, homemade food, which some parents are, then there’s our Thermal Food Flasks which keep food warm for up to 5 hours.”
TOP TIP: Use a lunch or snack box like TUM TUM’s set of 4 Nesting Snack Boxes so your little one spends more time eating rather than struggling to open packages
Lunches made easy
As you might imagine we’ve had quite a bit of experience in packing a lunch box or two so here are our top tips to help you get started:
- Pack foods you know your child will eat, rather than ones you wish they would eat! Certainly, at the start of the year anyway
- Uneaten food comes home each day so keep an eye on what your child is and isn’t eating and give them more of what they love
- Add foods with a range of different colours from blueberries to carrot sticks
- Cut a sandwich into your little one’s favourite animal design and try adding a pair of eyes made out of grapes
- Aim for balance – equal measures of protein, starch, vegetable and fruit with a dash of fun (write a little note or draw a funny picture and pop it in to their lunch box. When your child sees it they’ll know you’re thinking of them!).
- Get your little one to help you pack their own lunch box so they know what to expect that day
- When you pack a lunch box for your little one it’s all about the visual – looking good as well as tasting good. No pressure there then! These food pics from Eats Amazing can help to liven up a lunch and bring a smile to your little one's face!
Remember, making lunch boxes every day is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t peak too soon with your best effort! Switch things up so your little one never knows what they are going to get and there’s always that anticipation before opening J
Good luck kids (and mums and dads!).
Keep an eye out on our social media channels for lunch box inspiration over September.