Lessons From Making Our Own Lemonade

Are you a Mom or a Dad? (Me in red: Yes, I’m a Mom!)

Do you eat out much or sometimes? (Sometimes in the US and a LOT in Thailand)

Do you talk to your kids about healthy eating, slow food? (We do, often!)

Do you talk to or teach your kids about how to be smart with money? (Yes, all the time)

Mom and Dads, I’d love for you to share your tips here as well.

I will write a series of Tips on this blog on being economical, ecological, conscientious consumers and parenting.  It’ll be great to hear from other parents also.

I will start with Tip #1

When we eat out at a restaurant, we’ve taught M since she was little (now 8 yo) to make our own lemonade. In the US, when we’re at a restaurant, we will likely be able to ask for extra sliced lemons or limes.  M usually asks for these on her own now that she’s older.

With the ice water we get from the restaurant,  she squeezes the limes into the water, add some sugar, and a dash of salt.  This is an independent activity she can do on her own now that she is older and she loves it.  It keeps her busy stirring and watch the sugar melt! 🙂  She gets 2 packs of sugar limit depending on the size of the cup/glass.

This is from our recent trip to Chipotle after Thailand (Summer 2011)

It is a healthy and economical alternative.  When we are traveling and/or camping we’ll do the same thing. We’ll ask for lime or lemons while at a restaurant and squeeze them into our water in the stainless steel water bottles  (NOT plastic bottles.  Sometimes it is unavoidable when we’re in Asia.  Some guest houses include bottled water and they don’t recycle the bottles! Sigh!)

Possible lessons to discuss with children from this activity

  • Healthy consumption – Instead of opting for sodas and fake-juices, self-made lemonade can be just as great.  We explain this to her every chance we can.
  • Economical consumption– instead of purchasing unhealthy drinks, we can make lemonade.  It’s a Creative Solution. We talk about this with M and teach her ways to be creative.
  • Respect for money – Just because we have $$ or Baht or Rupees or Kips or Euros or whatever currency we have, doesn’t mean we should find ways to spend it unnecessarily wherever we go. If we’re spending money carelessly as parents, she must think it grows on a tree somewhere.  We teach her that it does not.  Whatever value we have as parents, will surely transfer to our child.  It is my responsibility as a parent to teach my child about how to value money. Unfortunately and sadly, in this fast pace, instant gratification society, in our observations, some of us won’t respect money until we don’t have it.

I’m not saying we never buy any drinks, ever.  We do.  However, we do make a habit of helping our daughter understand the above principles whenever there is a chance.  And this is not something we do once and forget about.  We talk about various topics regularly while allowing her to be a kid.

What kind of things do you do with your kids to help teach them important values.

3 thoughts on “Lessons From Making Our Own Lemonade

  1. I love that you wrote about this because this is something that I do too! We never order drinks at restaurants because they are so expensive. We are all just fine drinking water and whenever it comes with lemon we make lemonade! Sometimes I will ask for a side of lime from the bar and I get a small pitcher of lime juice for free to add to our drinks.

    Here are some of my tips:

    We will usually only order 2 or 3 meals for the four of us. We find that we always get enough to fill ourselves but there is rarely any leftovers. This saves our money and avoids wasting food.

    We keep a few Tupperware containers in our truck for times when we go to a place where leftovers are likely (usually our favorite Thai food place because we order too much because we want leftovers!) That way we can avoid having leftovers in Styrofoam which is such a blight on our planet.

    Before we order our food or get our waters we always tell the waitress that we don’t want any disposable plastic with our meal. (No plastic sauce containers, no straws, no little swords.) We explain to the waitress how we are trying to reduce our single use plastic and we are always met with enthusiasm or at least compliance.

    At home we bought stainless steel straws for those drinks that just taste better from a straw (smoothies).

    In our house our big issue is the environment and by doing all these things (and many others) we are teaching our children to question the status quo and to curb useless consumption.

    1. These are all great tips. We try to bring a container also. In CM, we make a habit of taking our own grocery bags and own containers. They are out of control with the plastic bag usage. Terrible. And I want to know where to find the stainless steel straws.. want some too!!

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