Tired of arguing about treats, I have declared this the Summer of Popsicles. I bought three boxes of popsicles and every time the kids ask for one, I say yes. Barely finished with breakfast at 9am and asking for a popsicle? Sure thing. Home after summer camp daycare and dinner isn’t ready yet? Have a popsicle.
Junk food and sugar are pretty well-regulated in our house. We have found that our kids are happier, less whiny, and more resilient when we stay away from sugar. During the school year, it can be a challenge to pack lunches without sweets or junky carbohydrates. We make eggs for breakfast every morning during the school year, which is great protein for growing brains, but also means that come summer, everyone is burned out on eggs (and on cooking breakfast).
Our big kids are 8 and 10, which is a good age to take on more tasks independently. Breakfast is rarely a fun time in our house. Sleepy kids who aren’t really hungry yet but have to eat because the parents have to get to work means there’s a lot of negotiation about what they want to eat and how much of it they want to eat. I’m typically exhausted all over again by 6:45am.
So this summer they are responsible for their own breakfasts. The first couple of nights, I set out the cereal, appropriately sized bowls, and spoons. The next morning I set out the milk and some fruit. We are now midway through the summer and I don’t do that anymore. They get their own and if they don’t get fruit, then whatever. I’m not going to argue about it. In the spirit of the Summer of Popsicles, I said yes to the junky, garbage cereal that they love—Cocoa Krispies and Apple Jacks.
It’s not a particularly nutritious summer. But they do still get a veggie at dinner and have to finish a LOT of water before they get anything else to drink. I needed a break from being a meal negotiator and from always saying no. They needed a break from the rigid structure of the school year.
In less than a month, we will resume our routine of eggs, mandatory fruit with breakfast, and occasional dessert. But we may have happened upon a new summer tradition with this…one we all can appreciate.