Why our children plan, budget and cook our meals

I love this creative way to plan family meals and teach your kids valuable life skills along the way!

The following is a guest post by Courtney:

“What are we eating for dinner?”

“There is nothing to eat in the house.”

“I do not want that.”

Are you tired of hearing these complaints from your children over and over again?

As a mother of six children, I understand you! It was our family too – until I figured this out and taught my kids some valuable life lessons along the way.

How we solved the “What’s for dinner” problem

As you can imagine, mealtimes for a family of eight are a bit demanding. It takes planning and sticking to a budget to make it work.

That of our family grocery budget (not including toiletries and household items) is around $400 per month. Since we shop weekly, that means we have about $100 a week to work with. Keep in mind that everyone eats all meals at home (my husband and I both work from home and all children are homeschooled.)

A few years ago, my husband invented a rotating chore schedule for our children it worked well. It’s a five-day system for the five older kids (parents take over on weekends!):

  1. food
  2. living room
  3. bathroom
  4. sweep/dustbin
  5. laundry
menu plan

How the “kitchen” chore day works

Here’s how kitchen chores day works and how this rotating schedule helps with menu planning:

  • On “kitchen” day, the child is responsible for preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner and cleaning. (Other kids get their own snacks as needed from the pantry and fridge.)
  • They then add their meals to the meal planning list on the fridge.
  • After putting together the shopping list, they add everything to my Walmart grocery cart. We do it Walmart Delivery In our region. It’s so worth it! I really like this app because the total adds up as you fill your cart. This is great for kids because they can track how much money is put in the basket and they know how much is left in the budget for that week. They try to stay around $90/$95 so we can add items to our stock or maybe buy a few more items to make it cooking in the freezer.
make a shopping list

The lessons they learned Along the way

This system has worked very well for our family and our children have learned many lessons throughout their lives…

1. How to plan meals.

Learn to plan your meals is a great advantage to have. I know quite a few parents and/or couples who wish they had learned meal planning long before their wedding.

They could have saved a lot of money if they knew about this valuable skill.

2. How to work with a budget and stick to that budget.

Finances are one of the most important topics you should teach your child while they are young.

Teaching your kids to be good stewards of their money while they’re younger and eager to learn will set them on the right path to financial freedom when they’re older.

3. How to cook.

Teaching my kids to cook for themselves and/or others is such a rewarding feeling.

I wish I had parents who taught me how to cook before I left the nest. I wouldn’t have had to order so much take-out and my husband and I wouldn’t have had so many fussy dinner parties in the early years of our marriage!

4. How to feel independent.

Last but not least, we teach our children independence!

Not only is this important as we give them wings to be on their own as adults, but it also makes them feel valued and appreciated for learning to be independent and do things on their own.

Have you ever tried a system like this? Do your children prepare meals at home? I would love to hear!

Courtney is the wife of a veteran and mother of six very energetic children ages 4-14. She enjoys homeschooling, gardening and saving money.

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