When we’re heading out for a vacation I typically pack the night before we leave. Sometimes even the day of if we’re leaving in the evening! One of the best tips I can share is to teach your kids how to pack. Honestly, it saves me tons of time and helps make sure the kids have the clothes they want during the trip. My kids learned how to pack very early on (my husband compliments me on how I have taught them). There are a few tricks and tips I want to share with you, so you too can speed up your family packing.
Here are 5 steps to teach your kids how to pack:
Set out the suitcase your kid(s) will use. This is a great visual so they can see they can’t bring their entire stuffed animal collection. The tip here is DON’T let them actually pack the suitcase. They’re going to gather the items and you’ll pack them in the suitcase. This gives you the final view of what they’re bringing. I’ve had to use my best
manipulative mom techniques over the years to “recommend” some removals and/or additions. Choose your battles wisely.
Prepare a packing list for your kids. My “list” has varied during the years. Sometimes it’s all been handwritten on one sheet of paper. Other times it’s been individual slips of paper. I even tried a white board once. The idea is to get your kids to pick an outfit for each day of the vacation. I’m including some free printable kids packing lists to help you with this part. Hopefully one of these styles will work for you or inspire you in your own list making.
Have your kids set out each “day outfit” and extras on the floor/bed. This is the time that helps you. While they’re working on getting their clothes gathered, you can work on your own suitcase.
Review and Pack their selections. Did they choose each outfit wisely based on the activity for the day? Did they remember underwear & socks? Now, using whatever packing method you like (I’m a roller!) you can pack their suitcase quickly.
Congratulate your kid and thank them for their work. This gives them ownership of the task (they won’t complain about any of the outfit choices because they picked them) and helps make them a part of the pre-trip preparation.
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