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Family Getaways: Teach Kids to Pack for Themselves

So, you’re really looking forward to the family vacation you’ve got planned, but you can’t stop stressing over that one thing: making sure everybody is packed up and ready to go on the day of departure. The last thing you want is to be rushing around the house, trying to pack your kids’ suitcases in addition to your own. Surely you’re bound to forget something with this method! Instead, you might want to consider teaching your children to pack for themselves. With these packing tips for kids, you’ll have them packing successfully in no time while sharpening their reading skills in the process. It’s a win-win for any parent!

Note: we recommend this exercise only for children who already know how to read at a basic level.

Set Their Suitcases Out

The first thing you’ll want to do is set your children’s suitcases out and explain to them that you’re going to be trying something new for the upcoming vacation. Tell them that you’re going to trust them with an important responsibility: that of packing their own things for the trip. This will help them to understand the importance of the task at-hand and also help them feel more involved in the process of planning for the vacation itself.

Setting out your children’s suitcases is helpful in terms of letting them visualize just how much space they have to work with while packing. And who knows? As a result, you might be able to avoid having that argument with them about bringing their entire stuffed animal collection along on the trip.

Make sure your children are clear, however, that they will not be packing their suitcases until you’ve given them the “green light” to do so.

Create Packing Lists

Next, it’s time to incorporate a little bit of reading into teaching your children how to pack for themselves. A good way to go about this is to create re-usable packing lists that you can use for all of your family vacations as a means of helping your child figure out what to pack without explicitly being told. You should have a packing list for each day of the trip, with a check-list of items based on your daily activities. For example, if one of your vacation days will be spent at an amusement/water park, this should be included at the top of the list. From there, you might instruct your children to pack a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, underwear, a swimsuit, a beach towel, sunscreen, and sandals.

The same idea can be repeated for other days of the trip, where you’ll be enjoying different activities as a family.

Have Them Set Everything Out

As your children work through each day and corresponding checklist, ask them to set out all the items they’re going to be packing on their bedroom floors or another large space in the home. They should set out their clothing and any accessories sequentially for each day of the trip. Once they believe they have everything packed, they should be instructed to let you know.

Review and Reward

Finally, it’s time for you to review what they have packed. If everything appears to be in order, give them the go-ahead to pack the items into their suitcases (or you may choose to do this part yourself for better organization). If any changes need to be made, have your child make them; this will teach him or her to have a greater sense of accountability for packing his or her own things. Once everything appears to be in order and bags are packed, be sure to thank your children for their help with this important aspect of getting ready for vacation.

If you so desire, you might even consider rewarding your children for a successful packing job with a small treat. Of course, this is up to you.

There are so many benefits to teaching your children how to pack for their own vacations. Having them read their packing checklists will help hone in on their reading skills, and having them pack for themselves helps them learn greater accountability. And last but not least, preparing for weekend getaways with kids is a lot easier when you only have to worry about packing your own suitcase.

Your travels will also be made even easier this month with our Buy 1 Get 1 50% for ALL hair care and hair color throughout the month of September. Grab a new styling product or a new hair color to prep for your upcoming trip!


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