On Monday, we began discussing nutrition and mealtime with an introduction to lunch time in the Montessori classroom. Today, we’ll examine steps you can take at home to help your child develop independence and master the skills required to meet his own fundamental need.
Make lunch together
Developing independence relies upon seizing teachable moments. Just as in the classroom, parents need to provide opportunities to teach their children how to care for themselves. Making lunches is one of those moments. It is a moment to improve your child’s vocabulary, teaching the nutritional value of what they eat, and food handling safety. Most importantly, children who prepare their own food are more likely to eat what they prepare.
Pack lunch Montessori-style
When considering your child’s lunch, there are two key things to keep in mind: your child’s taste buds and the small size of their tummies. Provide a variety of single foods rather than an adult-sized meal. Children are more apt to eat items in small portions (half a chicken breast cut into small pieces) than larger items (an entire chicken breast). We find that students will first partake of their crackers because they can be eaten individually without aid from a teacher. Children will not sit down and eat an entire apple at lunch, but they will eat a 2 slices. Small, separate portions let children combine foods in different ways.
Children also love to dip their foods. Simple veggie dip with carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli can be a delicious treat for your child to eat on his own. Bread sliced into cracker size pieces with similarly sized pieces of meat and cheese or spreadable peanut butter and jelly allow your child to create her own sandwich combinations.
Involving your child in the preparation of lunch ensures that lunch time will be more successful.
‘Only man is guilty of the vice of gluttony, which blindly leads him to eat not only more than he should but also what is actually harmful.’ Maria Montessori
Join us Friday as we continue our discussion of nutrition by exploring the idea of “We Are What We Eat.”