As a mom of a two-year-old and a six-year-old, one of my main parenting goals is to encourage independence in my little ones. I try to set up our routines and surroundings so that my kids can have a hand in making choices, which helps instill confidence and strengthen their ability to make decisions. I do this in many ways (if you’re a parent, I’m sure you do, too), including giving them (small) household responsibilities, and allowing them to “help” as often as I can (even if it makes the task take just a little bit longer).
Recently, I wanted to help encourage their independence when it came to choosing and retrieving snacks. It feels like they are constantly coming to me asking for a snack, which requires me not only to stop what I’m doing, but to debate with them over the merits vs. desireability of various snack options.
To help achieve this goal and encourage a bit more independence, I set up a drawer in our pantry and a bin in our refrigerator, both filled with healthy snack items, to encourage my kids to be independent in choosing their own snacks.
In our pantry, making sure to choose a drawer they can easily reach, I filled clear bins with multi-grain bars, crackers, applesauce, apples, dried fruit (raisins, cranberries and mango), and, my newest find, Jif™ Peanut Butter Granola Bars. Filled with 7-8 grams of protein per bar, these granola bars take things up a notch by combining Jif® Peanut Butter with chewy granola.
They come in three flavors: Creamy Peanut Butter, Crunchy Peanut Butter, and Peanut Butter Chocolate, and are the perfect grab-and-go snack for my little ones.
In our refrigerator, I cleared out our fruit bin, and filled it with some of our favorite, healthy snacks, including cheese, yogurt, grapes, and carrot sticks. It took a few minutes to prep and organize, but it saves me so much time in the long run now that my kids can grab a snack on their own. Even better? They love having their choice of snack options, and debates over what they can choose are a thing of the past. They know they can choose anything from the bins, which makes them happy (which, in turn, makes ME very happy).
This small change has made a world of difference in our household, which prompts me to ask, what do YOU do to encourage independence in your little ones? I’d love to know!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.