Packing for trips stresses me out. Maybe it is because I always forget something or maybe it is a more symbolic stress of feeling limited. (Hmm…deep thoughts…) So you can imagine what packing for me plus 4 kids does to my anxiety level. I decided to take the stress and guess work out of packing forever plus transfer some of the responsibility to my children.
I came up with a packing check list for kids to use. The boxes before the items are for checking off when packed and the lines behind the clothes items are to write in quantities for that specific trip. (Warning: this check list requires you to give up some control)
I printed a copy of the packing checklist for each of my kids. We talked about where we were going, the forecasted weather, and what activities we would be doing. We were headed to Southern Utah for a family reunion with lots of hiking. This information helped us make wise clothes choices and helped us be better prepared for the activities. We also wrote in how many underwear, shirts, socks, etc. they needed to pack for this trip. We crossed off any items on the list that were not needed.
There were some distractions and misunderstandings in filling out the packing list. The kids struggled a bit to understand the boxes and lines and categories. It was a long process. But this was our first time, and I think it will get easier as time goes on.
Once the checklist was filled out, the packing portion went much smoother. I had all the suitcases in the same room. The kids kept their check lists by their suitcase and they were the runners. They ran to their room and got the next items on the list and came back down stairs and put it in the suitcase. Then they checked the items off their lists. Eventually, the kids will take these lists to their rooms with their own suitcase and do it by themselves. A central spot to pack worked well for me now so that I could monitor everyone, and we could all get it done at the same time.
Although my son had gathered his items successfully, he needed a little extra help with actual packing.
My husband gave him some packing tips (he is a primo packer) like tuck your socks into your shoes and roll instead of fold. They repacked the suitcase so that it would close.
At the family reunion, my family made fun of some of my kids’ outfit choices (like my daughter’s platform slippers that were 2 sizes too big and impossible to walk in) but I told them this was a lesson in choice and accountability and independence. Hopefully she learned to bring more functional shoes next time.
I tweaked the list and made a packing checklist for moms as well. Let me know if I forgot anything. The kids’ packing checklist worked great and although there was still some stress, I didn’t bear the whole load and the kids are learning how to be responsible for their own suitcases. But I am a little worried that I am creating check-off freaks just like myself!