A Simple Idea for Helping your Kids Pack
With summer trips comes helping your kids pack. Summer break usually involves some type of individual trip for at least one of my kids, whether that’s going to camp or a trip to visit family. This summer is no different. My goal is to help my kids learn how to pack (and to return home with their belongings).
While, I do have a child that is able to pack completely independently, I’ve found a simple idea that works well to help aide a child who may still benefit from some guidance. Originally, I came up with this idea when my son was going on his first solo visit to his grandparent’s house for a couple of weeks. He was five years old at the time and needed more guidance than he currently does.
What simple idea do I use to help my kid’s pack?
Along with a list of items to pack, I include a photo of each item. This simple idea helps kids locate their belongings, especially, when you are not there to help them. Additionally, it can aide those whom they are visiting who are not as familiar with your child’s belongings. This idea adapts well for younger children, in addition to older children.
Originally, I took pictures of clothes and printed them out to send with my son. For younger children, having photos of their clothes works well in helping them know what they have (especially, helpful for a child who doesn’t read yet or is just learning to read). Also, it can help them know what items go together (if the pictures are taken as an outfit).
Recently, with my son, who needs less guidance now, but he’s not quite independent in packing yet. I simply took pictures on my phone and had them ready to send (to a grandparent’s phone), if they were needed. Beforehand, I created a list, with him, that he could reference to gather his belongings. The photos served as more of an additional help if there was something that he lost.
What photos do I include?
I take photos of (nearly) everything they take with them. While I would include pictures of every item for a younger child, I don’t include pictures of underwear or socks for an older child (although they are included items on their list- mainly, I don’t want them to feel embarrassed by carrying around or having a picture of their underwear on anyone’s phone).
Before taking photos, I divide my child’s items into categories. Depending on the child, I will take photos of the category as a whole, or further divide my child’s clothes into coordinating clothes and take photos that way. Some categories I’ve used to divide my children’s belongings include:
- Dress Clothes (shirt, tie, slacks, or dress, dress shoes, etc.)
- Swimwear (Swimsuit or swim trunks, rash guard, flip flops, etc.)
- Personal Care (comb, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- Activities (books, toys, etc.)
- Accessories (caps, sunglasses, etc.)
While I can’t say we’ve never not lost anything (that happens when I’m present as well), I believe it, definitely, helps. Moreover, it helps the kids learn to pack their belongings.
Bonus: An Additional Packing tip: I recently was reminded of another helpful idea for packing with kids. If you pack sets of clothes in gallon size bags, your child can simply select the bag of clothes they want to wear. They get the freedom to choose which bag they like, and you’ll know the clothes will go together.