Lunchbox Notes

To help put the “yay” in the new school year, we’ve teamed up with Disney+ star and YayDay Paper Co. founder, Amber Kemp-Gerstel to create personalized lunchbox notes to spark a little joy at lunchtime! Just download the PDF, print out the lunchbox notes, cut them out and write a special note on one before tucking into the lunchbox as a midday surprise.

Amber’s Back-to-School Tips

1. Pack a lunchbox note

Heading back to school after a year of virtual or hybrid schooling can be a little intimidating. Combat those back-to-school jitters with a little lunchbox note. It’s a great way for parents to inject some encouragement, confidence, and joy into the school day. It’s also a great way to stay connected.

2. Create a parent chat group with other parents from the same class

This is a great way to stay connected and up to date on what’s going on. As parents, we may feel out of the loop when it comes to the day-to-day activities and events that happen at school. When is crazy hair day? When is that project due? Anyone have an extra towel for tomorrow’s field trip? Who is bringing the juice boxes for tomorrow’s class party? With a chat group you can stay in the know and decrease any worries you might have about missing out on something important.

3. Plan a play date

Connect with other classroom parents and plan an outdoor play date with other kids who will be in your child’s classroom. For kids who’ve been in virtual school all year, this is a great way to familiarize them with their new classmates and practice some socialization skills.

4. Make lunchboxes simple and predictable

Don’t try to be the best chef. Stick with certain items like a sandwich, some fruit, a veggie, something salty, and a sweet treat. Within these categories you can get creative. Maybe one day it’s turkey and cheese and the next day it’s almond butter with jelly. And of course, don’t forget to pack Juicy Juice — with so many flavors to choose from, Juicy Juice definitely keeps the lunchbox exciting!

5. Make an after-school schedule

Set expectations for what will happen after school. Allow for a little down time before jumping into homework. A healthy snack is a great way to break up this time of day. For my six-year-old, he loves a little sweet and salty snack after school, so I’ll typically assemble a plate of crackers and cheese along with some Juicy Juice. Since Juicy Juice has no added sugar, I feel good about it as a great snack choice for setting him up for the second half of his day. For after-school activities, mix it up with some indoor fun like board games or arts and crafts and outdoor activities like bubble play, sidewalk chalk, or playing with slime (because in our house slime is 100% an outdoor activity!!)

6. Make a scrapbook

As parents we can feel pressured to keep every assignment and every piece of art that our kids bring home! Set aside a photo album or scrapbook and let your kiddos help decide which special pieces should stay as a keepsake. As the school year goes on, narrow down the scrapbook to make sure you’re only keeping what you love!

7. Use the school resources

Does your school have a counselor or psychologist? Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. With so many children returning to school after a year or more of virtual education, there’s a chance you’ll notice some emotional difficulties with your child including some anxiety, social troubles, attention problems, or sadness. Many schools have resources to help support you and your child through this transition time. Don’t hesitate to seek advice.

8. Play together

Play is the natural language of young children. By playing with your kids without the distraction of your phone or mobile device, you’ll find that you have meaningful discussions. You will learn what’s on their mind and maybe uncover any difficulties they may be experiencing. With kids heading back to school, we’re spending less time together - so make your family time count by setting aside a special time where you really connect with each other. This can be just 10 minutes after school where you play and talk. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time to make a big difference!

About Amber Kemp-Gerstel:

Amber Kemp-Gerstel is the host of Disney Family Sundays on Disney+ and founder and creative director of Damask Love, a creative lifestyle blog all about doable DIY. In 2020, Amber launched her digital stationery company, YayDay Paper Co., which offers beautiful stationery, stickers, craft projects and more, all that you can print at home! Additionally, Amber received her Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from Vanderbilt University and practiced as a pediatric psychologist for many years before shifting careers to pursue her passion for creativity. She is a mom to a 6 year old and a 9 month old.