Organizing Your Kids for School: The Breakfast Menu
I am one of those people who buys into the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; at the same time, I either 1) am not hungry until at least an hour after waking or 2) just want something quick yet healthy to eat to settle my stomach and then I'm set for, well, at least another hour.
The problem is this: my kids are the exact same way as I am. During the summer months this shared behavior does not pose too much of an issue, but when it's time to get my little cherubs back into their school routines, the mornings can be pretty rough. Not only does it take them forever and a day to actually want to eat, but getting my kids to make a decision on what they want before having to rush out the door creates a ridiculously unnecessary level of stress.
Well friends, enough is enough.
In order to better organize my kids' morning routines for the new school year, I decided to create something to integrate into their morning self-monitoring checklists which will hold them accountable for picking AND eating their "most important meals" on a daily basis: a personalized breakfast menu.
If you struggle with getting your little ones to select what to eat for breakfast and are looking for a way to end the questions about what is available, then integrating this simple strategy into your kids' morning routines may be exactly what you need!
The Breakfast Menu: How to Make It
The breakfast menu is easy to make and will be even easier for your kids to navigate, especially when used along with the morning checklist. Here's how I created mine:
1. Open a new GoogleSlide or PowerPoint slide and place it in portrait dimensions.
GoogleSlides: To place a slide in portrait dimensions rather than landscape (which blank GoogleSlides are automatically set to), click File-Page Setup-Custom and change the dimensions to 8.5 x 11.
PowerPoint: Navigate to the Design tab at the top of the slide and click Portrait.
2. Insert an image from Google as your heading and give your menu a title.
To insert an image from Google on either platform mentioned above, click Insert-Image-Search the web (Online pictures).
If you don't want to insert an image from Google, you could always have your child decorate the top or border of the menu his- or herself!
3. Brainstorm a list of breakfast items that can be regularly found in your home.
To insert a text box, click the icon with T in a box at the top of your slide screen, click the slide itself, then start typing!
4. Insert photos from Google to match each breakfast item.
Pictures are important to include for the little ones in your home who cannot yet read. It also speeds up the selection process for emerging readers!
5. Insert photos of your children in the next column to be able to establish each kids' breakfast choice.
To insert an image from your device on either platform mentioned above, click Insert-Image-Upload from computer (Pictures).
Don't have a picture? Have your child draw a picture of his- or herself on the printed menu instead!
6. Insert lines beneath each child's photo that match up with the breakfast items listed. This will be where your children check off their daily selections.
These lines can be inserted using the Line tool at the top of a GoogleSlide or by clicking Insert-Shapes-Lines at the top of a PowerPoint slide.
Lines can also be inserted by typing consecutive underscores in a text box or by being drawn onto the printed menu!
Voila! There you have it... your personalized breakfast menu!
The Breakfast Menu: How to Make It Last
Now that you have created and printed out your personalized breakfast menu, it's time to protect it.
Since you may find yourself changing up the menu at various times throughout the school year, I would encourage you to use a clear sheet protector instead of a laminator.
Using a clear sheet protector will give you the opportunity to switch out the menu at any time and is able to be drawn on with dry erase markers. You can also use a sticky note to cover any temporarily unavailable items without having to modify and reprint the entire menu. Now that's a Win-Win. The clear cover and markers I used for my kids' breakfast menu were both found at my local Dollar Tree and have been holding up perfectly!
The Breakfast Menu: How to Use It
The breakfast menu is very simple to explain and to have your children navigate.
Hang or place your breakfast menu in a highly-trafficked area in your kitchen, such as on the pantry door, the refrigerator front, or on the kitchen table. Help your kids to build the habit of checking off the item(s) they want for breakfast under their individual pictures once they wake up and before moving onto another routine task. While your children are completing other important before-school jobs (such as getting dressed or combing their hair), you can be preparing the meal that each one selected. No more asking mom or dad about what is available to eat. No more feet-dragging. No more rushing out the door with a plastic bag full of Cheerios and a sippy cup of milk. Can I get an Amen?!
Listen friends... Kids thrive on routine and so do we. If you want to better organize your kids' school mornings and eliminate (or at least significantly decrease) the morning breakfast battles in your home, creating a chart like this is a great place to start.