No one knows your kid better than you. You already have an idea of what works best when interacting with your family unit. All children are different and you’ll find that some of these tips will be of greater value depending on the individual’s age, unique personality, maturity level, etc. A youngster’s anxiety levels, planning skills, independence, etc. are all variables in the equation but we’re all out to make the packing process as painless as possible.
2. Go over the trip itinerary with your child
Knowledge is power. Be up front with your child about the trip plans. Let them know what to expect. This will reduce anxiety, encourage excitement and assist in the decision making process and the packing begins. Go over the basics: how many days/nights, planned activities, local weather.
3. Have everything clean and ready
Being prepared for the packing to begin is important. Waiting on a load of laundry in the dryer can stop momentum. Have the majority of laundry caught up and you’ll save time searching for that “favorite pair of shorts”.
4.Have he/she layout their wishlist
No matter what the child’s age, give them a sense of responsibility. Have them layout the outfits or pieces of clothing/shoes they want to take. You can fill in the blanks or edit later.
5.Don’t let your stress or anxiety show
Whether you’re sending your kids on a trip with someone else or going as a family, the preparation process can be stressful. Don’t take it out on your kids; being calm and confident (even if you’re faking a bit) will benefit your child more than you know.
6.Find him/her a suitable travel bag
Pick out a bag suitable for the vacation. Is it an overnight stay at Grandma’s or a week in Mexico? Luggage needs will differ greatly. Depending on the suitcase inventory in your household, giving your child a choice between two bags of appropriate size could be an option. If you’re limited, simply lay out the bag they need and move on.
7.Help them stay focused
Remember we’re dealing with kids. Most would rather be playing, sleeping…really anything but packing. If they seem to get off track supervision can speed up the packing process. Give pointers and suggestions but be careful or you’ll be doing the whole thing yourself.
8. Double check contents as they go into the bag/suitcase
Once the gear and clothes are selected start the physical packing. Using a written or mental list, check off the items as they go into the luggage. This is the time to make adjustments and additions to what he/she has picked out. The adult in the situation is responsible for the overall process. Mom or Dad will be the one on the hook when you arrive at a destination with one sock and/or pants that now look like capris.
9. Pack something special
As the caregiver, come up with a few items that will make the trip easier for the child. A comfort item or something your child may not have thought of. They could be new purchases or an old stand by. A new hat or a familiar stuffed animal can be just thing to bring a smile to a kid’s face as he/she unzips the suitcase.
10. Load them with confidence
Having the bags packed and demonstrating that planning ahead can make life easier is a valuable lesson for your kids. Avoid packing at the last minute; having the bags ready to go gives opportunities to add one last thing, keep the clothes clean (so you’re not washing the special shirt the night before departure) and builds confidence that the trip will be a success. Trips aren’t always perfect, but being prepared is the first step in a vacation WIN!