Breakfast has become a juggling act in my house. Yes, I know it’s the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t ease the difficulty of nourishing four children on different schedules.
Take the average school day. One child leaves at 6:45 am, two at 7:05 am and the last one at 7:55 am. I am up and down the stairs, awakening children, checking their schedules, and reminding them of the daily agenda.
And…I admit… taking a breakfast order.
What happened to one meal for everyone?
Weekends are no better. Swim practice at 5 am and 8 am; a teen going to work at 10 am and countless other competitions, meets and travel sports commitments.
Breakfast had morphed into a “catch as catch can” circus rather than the “sit together and eat the same meal” it once was when the kids were younger.
I realized our breakfast system had to change.
Because, they had changed.
As children grow, their schedules, time demands, and interest in breakfast can dictate the success of this important meal. But it doesn’t have to.
I have found the easiest approach is the authoritative approach. Similar to the Dinner Bar (choosing the items for the meal, prepping and laying them out, then letting kids pick and choose their own combinations) or family-style meals, I decide the meal items (what they are eating), and lay them out on the counter or table and let them choose which foods they will eat and how much.
Sometimes, the kids all eat the same thing. This morning, for example, everyone ate the cinnamon roll bread! (I think that was because it was an entirely new item in the house!). But frequently they pick and choose different items based on their preferences and appetite.
The simplicity of placing food options on the table allows me to optimize variety and get as many food groups out there as possible, while allowing the kids to be in charge of their appetite and preferences.
I think it’s a perfect way to optimize choice and control when it comes to feeding children, helping them do better with eating.
If your child chooses the same thing to eat every day, you can curtail that by making sure you don’t get stuck in the rut of offering the same food items every day. Offer one familiar, liked item, but change up the rest. If your child shies away from unfamiliar foods, this approach exposes him to new foods without pressuring him to eat them.
I think this is one of the easiest ways to feed breakfast to busy kids—easy on the parents, and easy on the kids.
How do you handle breakfast on busy mornings?