Meal orders reduce the morning madness
In the mornings before school, there are so many decisions to make. What to eat for breakfast, what snack to take to school, what to have for lunch. These things became entirely too hard for my three 6-year-olds to decide in the morning, so I devised a plan. I bought a restaurant-type order pad at an office supply store and every night they have to place their ‘orders’ for lunch, snack and breakfast. In the morning all I have to do is get the order forms together and start breakfast, lunch and packing snacks.
When I give my kids any food choices beyond "Would you like Choice A or Choice B?" we quickly devolve into whining and bickering. For us, sticking to Ellyn Satter's "food division of responsibility" as described in "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" -- I decide what, where and when, they decide how much (if at all) -- seems to work well, or, at least, as well as can be expected from two finicky children. Another great title I'm rereading: "How to Get Your Kid to Eat: But Not Too Much" (Ellyn Satter)
Related: More great ideas in the Feeding/nursing archive