Developing Skill and Responsibility (Lunch Preparations)

This is a sample pattern of involving children in responsibility for their own lives.

Children develop into responsible adults slowly through gradually increasing responsibilities over their toddler, childhood and adolescent years.

Cheerful, firm and consistent examples and experiences are children’s teachers.


2 yrs.
Parent talks about preparing child’s lunch. Parent prepares lunch while child watches.
Parent prepares lunch slowly and methodically so that it makes sense to child.

3-4 yrs.
The child hands things to the parent or gets things out for the parent; cutting board, dish towel, lunch box, apple from the refrigerator, etc.
The child stays with the parent until he task is complete.

4 yrs
The child is shown slowly and carefully how to prepare a part of the lunch; how to peel and slice the banana and mix it into a container
with 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, how to rinse off the cutting board and knife and place them in the drainer basket;
how to place the banana peel in the compost bucket.

4 + yrs.
The child prepares that part of the lunch shown, as described above, while the parent prepares the rest of the lunch.
This continues for three weeks or so.

4.5 yrs.
The child Is shown how to prepare another part of the lunch very slowly and carefully, how to make a yogurt dip for raw vegetables,
how to peel and slice a cucumber or how to prepare carrot sticks.

5-6 yrs.
For a period of time the child prepares some part of the lunch which has been demonstrated while the parent prepares the rest.

6-7 yrs.
The child prepares two-parts of the lunch, the fruit and the vegetable, while the parent prepares the sandwich.

7-8 yrs.
The child watches parent prepare the sandwich slowly and methodically. The child sees how to assemble ingredients,
how to make the sandwich and store it, and how to clean up afterwards. The parent prepares the fruit and vegetable.
Emphasis is upon preparing food TOGETHER FOR THE CHILD.
The parent doesn’t leave the child to do it. The child doesn’t leave the parent to do it.

8-9 yrs.
The child prepares the entire box lunch while the parent is close by for supervision.

9-10 yrs.
The child prepares the entire box lunch while parent is doing another task in close proximity for company and acknowledgment.

10-11 yrs.
The child prepares entire box lunch while parent is in and out of the room. Parent gives advice, acknowledgment and reminders.

1. Setting up for task
2. Carrying out task
3. Clearing away after task

Donna Bryant Goertz © 2010
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