The Working Mom’s Guide to Easy School Lunches

easy school lunch ideasOk, ladies — what do you pack for your kiddo’s lunches, whether for daycare, elementary school, or other? Are you most concerned with ease of packing, assuredness of eating, nutrition, calories, or cost? What are your top easy school lunch ideas? Have you had success outsourcing this task — for example, I’ll bet this is a nobrainer for those of you with au pairs, but for those of you in daycare it’s either you or your partner. We kind of had a discussion about working moms and kids lunches a few year ago, but it’s been a while — so let’s discuss.

For my $.02, we’re trying to maintain my first grader’s weight until he grows a bit taller, so my primary concerns are a mix of calories, nutrition, and volume (I want him to feel like he’s getting a lot of food, even if I know he’ll only eat half of the cherry tomatoes or baby carrots I pack for him), and, selfishly, ease of packing for me or my husband. We also try to be good to the environment where we can and pack reusable containers — but I’m also realizing that this is resulting in a zillion dishes to wash, so we’ll see how that goes.

For “mains” I find that it’s hard to get around yogurt/milk/sandwich options, unless we have acceptable leftovers (for example, I’ve given meatballs and rice before!) — so most of these ideas are easy snacks and “extras.” But I’m curious to hear what your tips are for packing school lunches — and what you pack! 

These are my go-tos for easy school lunches:

Easy School Lunch Ideas that are Healthy and Non-Processed

  • cherry tomatoes
  • apples, precut apple slices
  • baby carrots
  • hard boiled eggs
  • shredded or pulled chicken
  • grapes
  • all berries

Healthy, Convenient Food Ideas for School Lunches

Some good ideas if you’re in the middle of the road (i.e., “healthy” convenience food) — but they tend to be expensive!:

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4 Apps That Help Working Moms Stay Connected to School or Daycare

Apps That Help Working Moms Stay Connected to SchoolDoes your child’s daycare or school use any apps that help working moms stay connected to school (and dads, of course, and parents in general)? It’s helpful and reassuring to get regular updates when your kid is too young to tell you about his/her day, and when yothe best apps to help working mothers stay connected to daycare or schoolur kid is older, you can get around the “What did you do at school today?” non-answers. (My son’s favorite is “I forgot!” when I ask him about certain things that happened during his first-grade school day.) It’s especially nice if you don’t have time to volunteer at school and don’t ever get to see what goes on during a typical day. Today we’ve rounded up some parent communication apps that you can consider recommending to your child’s school if they don’t currently use one (before the year is out).

With various features and options (and prices), here are four apps that help working moms stay connected to school:

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Open Thread: When Your Kid Is Having Trouble in School

When Your Child Is Having Trouble in SchoolNow that fall has begun, it’s not just Halloween and Thanksgiving that are quickly approaching: Parent/teacher conferences are also on the horizon. Are you looking forward to your parent/teacher conference — or are you feeling a bit trepidatious about it? If you know or suspect that you child is having trouble in school, are you doing anything special to prepare for the conference? 

When you go into school for conferences, you’ll typically hear from your kids’ teachers about their progress and achievements and how well they’re adjusting to the new school year. Sometimes, though, you’ll find out something unexpected: that your child is having trouble in school. Perhaps, for example, your son or daughter is dealing with anxiety, exhibiting inappropriate behavior, struggling with reading, or demonstrating poor focus and attention.

The teacher may suggest an educational evaluation or recommend a pediatrician visit, depending on the circumstances. Perhaps you’ll find out that your child has a learning disorder, developmental disability, behavioral problem, or mental health issue, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), dyslexia, or dyspraxia. Combined with the stress this news can cause, you may find yourself feeling all sorts of emotions, from relief to anger to guilt to disbelief — or a complicated combination.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for you and your child if he or she is having trouble in school (although these vary by state), from school staff to doctors and therapists to local agencies — plus a wealth of information online. (See below.)

Have you gotten the news at a parent/teacher conference (or in another context) that your child was having trouble in school? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome? What sorts of resources did you find most helpful? Have you felt supported by teachers and staff at your child’s school? If not, have you had to take any drastic measures such as hiring a lawyer to help you deal with the school, or homeschooling?  

Resources/Further Reading:parent teacher conferences worry working moms

  • Understood: “to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3–20, are struggling with learning and attention issues”
  • Wrightslaw: “accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.”
  • ADDitude: “strategies and support for ADHD & LD.”
  • Child Mind Institute: “an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.”
  • Friends of Quinn: “an online community that offers resources and support for young adults with learning differences, as well as for the people who love them.”

P.S. October 2–8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and you can take the the Stigmafree Pledge at nami.org/stigmafree. October is also Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Pictured: Pixabay