Why we make our kids pack for vacation themselves.
It's true. Why we make our kids pack for vacation themselves.
It takes MUCH longer to have the kids pack their own things than if we just did it for them.
And, yes, we do have to go behind them to double check that they haven’t tried to bring a week’s worth of tutus or all of their church clothes.
We've created a free packing list for kids so you can print, laminate, and give to your children to use as a tool when they pack for vacations or a weekend away! You can find it at the end of this blog post.
However, isn’t one of the goals as parents to raise independent and self-sufficient children?
We believe that by taking the time to guide them now will ensure we help instill the skills necessary in life for trips they will be responsible for on their own in the future. I know it can seem like that time is so far away, but I can quickly see how fast it’s coming with my own two children. They’re going to be off on their own vacations before I know it!
Start When They Are Young.
Even ages 2-5 can be your starting point. When our children were younger, we would have them go to their room with specific instructions:
“Please bring me 3 pairs of shorts.”
“Ok. Now go bring me a pair of pajamas.”
“Great! Now please go pick out 3 of your favorite shirts.”
So even though I was managing and leading them, they were still involved in the process of preparing for travel. We need our children to know it’s not magic! A lot of effort is required to make a vacation happen! We don’t want them to expect that it all gets done for them while they are at school or off playing with friends or watching TV.
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They Have to Participate
Now that they're older (8 and 10) we have given them a little more responsibility. We want to make these habits stick. Taking the time now to break down the process instead of just barking orders at them is key. You don’t have to have them do it all at once. Start with one thing at a time if you need to!
For older kids
Now that our kids are older (8 and 11) we have given them a little more responsibility when it comes to vacation planning and prep.
We want to make these habits stick. Taking the time now to break down the process instead of just barking orders at them is key.
You don’t have to have them do it all at once. Start with one thing at a time if you need to!
We have created a free packing list for kids (below) but you don't even need that! Just discuss the following with your children:
Have them write down the number of days and nights you will be gone.
- Briefly go over what you will do each day.
- Discuss what the weather will be.
- Ask them to choose all of their clothing for the trip, fold it, and lay it out on the couch so you can inspect it.
It's quite interesting to see how they organize their own clothes. And they may surprise you by coming up with their own productive system!
Teaching kids to pack for vacation is just a small introduction to a skill that will serve them later in adulthood.
Do you ask your children to help pack for vacations?
What system do you have?
Share your stories and tips with us -- suggestions are ALWAYS welcome!