Back to School: To Write Lunch Box Notes or Not

Foody FridayIt sounds like such a sweet idea. Each morning as you lovingly make your children’s healthy lunches before they head off to school, you take the time to compose a special note to each one along with a lovely picture you carefully draw. Then with a kiss on each note you tuck it into the right lunch box hidden underneath the sandwich. Then at lunch time, when your child picks up her sandwich, whala! There is a note from Mom letting her know how much she loves her and is thinking about her. And little brother (who doesn’t read yet) opens his lunch box and finds a note from Mom covered with X’s and O’s and a mommy dinosaur and little boy dinosaur hugging, letting him know how much she loves him today. How sweet! It makes each child’s day go so much better.

Ok, back to reality! We all know that mornings are usually hectic and unless mom gets up while it is still night (kind of like that Proverbs 31 woman), she is probably not going to have time to compose and draw lovely notes while she makes lunches and breakfast and tries to get the kids out of bed and dressed and makes sure each one has everything gathered that they need for the day into their backpacks and out the door before the bus takes off. Whew! But if she doesn’t stick a note in their lunch how will they know she loves them and how will they ever make it through the day?Lunch Notes

Melinda and I thought it would be fun to give you some inspirational ideas for lunch box notes, but as I was doing some research, I began wondering if that was the right thing to do. It appears that lunch box notes have become a big business. You can now purchase pre-made lunch box notes with jokes, trivia, word games, puzzles, cute sayings, encouraging phrases like “You are the smartest!” and so forth. That way you can just toss a note into each lunch box as you throw lunch together. They are advertised as easy meaningful ways to stay connected with your child throughout the day. Really?

So if your child does not take a lunch, but eats the school lunches, are they going to feel unloved? What if your child gets teased by other kids because of the “mommy” notes? Do you want to embarrass your children? Some comments I read in my research seemed to indicate that some parents thought it was fun to embarrass their child. I think that’s sad. Don’t we have enough bullying going on these days without our help? For what age would these notes be a good thing and at what age should you stop?

Maybe I am not the right person to be discussing this. After all, I homeschooled my kids and if I wanted them to know I loved them or give them some encouragement, I could tell them right then. I just want to encourage all of you who are sending your kids off to school every morning not to jump on a fad because it seems sweet or everyone on Pinterest is doing it! If it is something you want to do, do it the first week of school, one time. Then talk to your kids about it. If they would rather you not do that, don’t. If they liked it, do it occasionally so it is a special treat that doesn’t become routine and meaningless. And by all means, be creative. And personal. You may think a handwritten note or a picture you draw would not look as nice as the perfectly scripted font and image on a prepackaged note, but it will mean far more to your child…because YOU did it!

This Mom found a creative way to send notes to her children on napkins.

This Dad drew pictures on his children’s sandwich bags with markers.

This Mom made some downloadable note templates with space for you to write your own note. Just look online for many other ideas with downloadable templates you can use, if you want to go this route.

If your child has a lunch box with a flat lid, you could paint the inside of the lid with chalkboard paint and then write special notes on the lid.

Use your cookie cutters as stencils to make notes like we did in this post for gift tags.

Cut up some of the art work you have done when you are experimenting with stamps, or paint or whatever and write a note on it.

Something else you may want to consider is, for each of your children, what is the way that they feel most loved? Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages of Children based off of his book for couples titled, The Five Love Languages.Five Love Languages of Children The 5 Love Languages of Children

His basic premise is that people respond in various ways to the five main ways love is expressed (or Love Languages)- Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Gifts. When you know the primary love language of an individual and “speak” that language, the person feels loved. For example, if your child’s main love language is quality time, and you give them lots of gifts, but don’t spend quality time with them, they will not feel loved. Perhaps your main love language is gifts and you think that is how others will feel most loved, but you must learn to speak the love language of the other person or they will not feel that love. That is not to say that the person will not have secondary love languages, but if the primary one is not being met at least some of the time, they will feel lacking in love. His books are interesting and would be helpful in learning how to relate to your family members. He also has a book about teenagers.

Five Love Languages of Teenagers

The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers New Edition: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively
Sending notes would be an expression of the love language, words of affirmation. So maybe sending notes to your child in their lunch box would not be the best way to express love to your child. Maybe your child needs quality time to feel loved. Perhaps you could arrange to occasionally visit your child’s school at lunchtime and have lunch with your child. Maybe giving your child a big hug before leaving for school and then again when they come home is the expression of love they need (physical touch). Perhaps doing something special for your child, like a chore that you normally require them to do, would speak volumes of love to them. (Sorry, but fixing them meals is usually not considered an act of service to them!) If their love language is gifts, you don’t have to be buying them things all the time. Maybe baking a batch of their favorite cookies would be a special gift to them. Get to know your kids and “speak” love to them in the way they will most respond to your love and if that is sending notes to them in their lunch, go for it!


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