OK moms, what's the verdict: Should you include a note in your child's lunch box?
"My mom always wrote on my napkins when I was a child — just little things like 'have a great day' or 'I love you.' When I had children, I just automatically did it with them as well," Kim Conner tells SheKnows. "I think it was something that stuck with me from my childhood that made me feel special, so it just seemed right to carry it through to my own kids."
What kind of things does she write? "When my son was in kindergarten, I would draw an eye, a heart and the letter U," she said. "If my daughter has a test that I know is after lunch, I will wish her well. I've always designed fun lunch jokes that I'll stick in their lunches now and again, as well. Something to help bring a smile to their face."
Conner has designed adorable free printable cards that you can cut out, personalize and put in your child's lunch box on her blog, 733blog.com.
Vandana Sheth, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that a lunch box note can be a good idea.
"A quick note in the school lunch box can be a positive reminder for your child to remember to eat, relax, savor and enjoy the food. The note can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose," she says.
Mom and photographer Kristen Duke loves to make her kids smile by sending jokes in their lunches. "I love sending a little something into my kids' lunches to let them know I'm thinking of them. With older kids, they don't want the gushy stuff as much, but both my kids and their friends look forward to the daily jokes," she says. "I print off the pages in advance (one set for each of my kids) and keep them in a kitchen drawer. When I am prepping their lunches, I cut that one out for the day, and sign my name on the back. It's my little way to help them smile while they are away from me."
Registered dietitian and certified wellness coach Shana Hussin says that she does send notes, but only occasionally.
"I find they are more special when you just send notes once in a while and they don't know when they are coming, rather than every day," she says. "As far as the notes go, my daughter loves them and asks for them to be sent, but my two boys don't seem to care. I think it depends on the child. It really makes my daughter's day, and it just takes a minute to jot a quick note."
Some moms don't do lunch box notes regularly, but do other things to show their kids they are thinking of them.
"I was once told, 'Don’t do anything as a parent you aren't prepared to do 150,000 times,'" says Katherine Eskovitz, parenting expert and nutrition author.
"I do not believe in daily notes because I think they become meaningless to children who then toss them aside, and are burdensome, with more than one child, writing ones that have any meaning every day," she says, however she does admit that she can see how a note could be a good idea for a birthday or if a parent is away on a trip. "These make those times more special," she says.
Andrea Thomas does a fun and interesting substitution for lunch box notes.
"I've never been into notes, but I create little food masterpieces. Fruit kabobs, banana cars, funny faces out of their food, just little visuals to make their lunch fun," she says. "I'll switch to notes if they ever outgrow my fruit caterpillar. Since my little ones have food allergies, I want them to feel extra excitement about opening their lunch box."
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