Thursday, January 26, 2012

Snack Basket System

I used to feel like the Snack Time Warden. "Yes, you can have that. No, you can't have that. Yes, you can have this, but then you can't have that, too. No, that's too much." I'm sure you know how this goes. So I created a snack basket. It was a combination of several ideas I'd seen on other people's blogs. Mine works like this:
Each child gets 3 points for each snack. Snacks can only be had a certain Mom-approved times of the day. When we first started the snack basket, I would label each item with a number that was it's point value. Since we've been using this system for about a year now, I don't really have to label with point values anymore. The kids just know. Fruit snacks are 1 point. Applesauce cups are 2. Granola bars are 2. Raisins are 1. Goldfish baggies are 2. Sometimes when there's something special like homemade cookies, the kids will have to ask how many points. Sometimes when I'm feeling very generous I'll surprise the kids by putting a bag of treats in the basket labeled, "0 points!!" They love that. It's like Christmas morning.

The things in the basket change a bit, but are for the most part pretty standard. Some of the things are pre-individually packaged. Some of the things (like Goldfish) I put into my own little baggies. I just set up an assembly line of baggies, the snack, and a measuring cup and measure out an appropriate amount of the snack into each baggie.
The basket itself is a men's shoe bin from The Container Store. One of the organization blogs I read recommended them as the perfect storage bins for everything from snacks to toys. (I'm pretty sure this idea came from The Pretty Neat Company blog, but the blog seems to be down so I can't be sure.) And I have to say, I totally agree with her. I bought like 10 of them and they are now in use all around the house. They're just the right size, they're see-through so that you know what's inside even when it's up on a shelf, and they're sturdy enough to take some abuse.

The basket sits on a low shelf in the pantry. Low enough that every child can reach it. And now when I say, "Snack time!", the children can help themselves. No game of 20 questions.
This system makes me happy. Because it works so well for us.


angela michelle said...

Urgh. Maybe I need to follow your lead. My kids have basically turned after-school snack time into a meal fiasco. Someone makes a quesadilla, someone else makes a sandwich, someone always makes some crazy concoction of, I don't know, peanut butter, oatmeal, and lunch meat. It's a huge mess and I think sometimes they eat more of this "snack" than they do of the healthy vegetarian dinner I'm making. I don't know--something to do with kids preferring pb to quinoa and tofu.

erica said...

thanks for the idea. maybe I'll be good and use it.

Jessica said...

What a great idea! Snacks are always a point of contention at our house. Part of it is that we don't ever seems to have a good variety. I'm going to "pinterest" this idea, and implement it soon!