By Rachel Hoeing
I don’t know about your family, but when it comes to the fun chore of packing for vacation, the bulk of it has usually always landed on me. As my children have gotten older, I have tried to put more responsibility on them, but it has often resulted in arriving at the beach with no bathing suits packed, or opening up the suitcase only to realize that underwear was the item that was forgotten.
I finally came up with a plan that is simple and easy for all of us. It takes a lot of the responsibility off of me, but also doesn’t put it solely on the kids. Even if your children are preschoolers, I bet they can still make this method work.
If you have one child, or more than one but they share a bedroom, simply sit in their room next to the open suitcase(s). If you have more than one child and they have separate bedrooms, try to set up your sitting area between the bedrooms. As you see in the photo below, I set up my kids’ suitcases in the hallway and then I sit next to them.
I keep a packing list and simply read out the items one at a time as the kids go to their rooms and fetch the items. Here’s how our last packing event went when we got ready for a family weekend at a local camp.
“Bring me three pairs of underwear.”
“Pick out one outfit for the ride to camp.”
“Pick out one outfit to wear on Saturday. It needs to be comfortable and easy to play in.”
“Choose one outfit for Sunday and then an extra one in case you get dirty or wet.”
“Bring me three pairs of socks.”
“Choose two pairs of pajamas.”
“Grab a pair of sneakers and a pair of flip-flops.”
“Grab a sweatshirt or jacket in case it gets cold.”
“Anna, grab your brush and ponytail holders. Jake, grab your deodorant.”
You get the idea. We do this step by step and I do not move to the next item until they bring me the first one and it is packed in the suitcase.
This method has worked for many reasons including the fact that they are choosing clothes that they will actually wear. (Anyone else have a picky little girl??) Plus, you can “oversee” the clothes choices so that they don’t end up with sweatpants to wear to your cousin’s graduation ceremony. It is also great because it is modeling how to get organized and pack for themselves as they get older. As I mentioned above, it usually alleviates us forgetting items, since there are three minds working together instead of just one. And lastly, I don’t spend an entire day packing for everyone.
Super simple, super easy, and something I hope will help you next time you pack for vacay!