abusing school lunch moneyEvery Sunday night, I sit my kindergartner down in front of the weekly school menu and let him pick what TWO hot lunches he's allowed to buy that week. Each month, I send in a check for EXACTLY eight lunches. I remind him the morning of every "hot lunch day" so he can raise his hand during the morning lunch tally.

It seemed like a good enough system. I was giving him responsibility ... but not too much. And, I thought it was working ...

Until the note last week from the lunch room, revealing that my boy had already blown through his monthly tab -- just two weeks into the month!

"But, Mommy, I don't like sandwiches anymore . . . "  went the excuse.

My cousin's son, also 5, wasn't living up to his end of the school lunch bargain, either. Instead of buying the agreed upon, balanced lunches he was supposed to, he grabbed a bagel and butter -- every single time. This went on for weeks before the school mentioned something to his parents.

I can't totally blame the schools. It's impossible to keep tabs on what every single kid is eating at all times.

So how should we parents deal with little lunch money mishandlers? Can you justify giving a punishment for ... eating?

tredafh does not mess around. Her son, like mine, way exceeded his allotted meal allowance because, he claimed, "he was still hungry." But even when mom sent him in with some additional snacks, he refused to eat them and continued to buy from the cafeteria.

"I have started making him pay for it out of his own money," she says. "He is ticked. I don't know what else to do besides make him take his lunch every day."

I love this. I only wish my son some money so I could employ it.

++Do your kids obey the school lunch money rules? How do you punish them if they break those rules? What money lessons are you teaching?


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