Family vacations are a great way to get out of your routines and create lasting memories. Whether you’re taking a long weekend to visit the grandparents or you’re jet-setting to a far-off destination, your kids are likely already counting down the days. And while they get to relish in nothing but sheer excitement (oh, to be young again!) you’re likely balancing both your excitement with a list of to-dos. After all, you need to ensure that all of the arrangements are made and that everyone will be prepared once you unpack at the destination. An item missing ? family swimwear, for example, can be a sure-fire way to set a vacation off on a not-so-ideal foot!
A great way to get everyone involved with the planning process, though, is to ensure everyone’s packing their own bags. Rather than packing your kiddos’ suitcases or backpacks for them, you can help them pack to get them involved with the process, all while making sure they have all of their essentials when the family vacay kicks off. Read on for some of our top tips for helping your kids pack for an upcoming family vacation.
As a parent, you likely know that last-minute surprises are the name of the game. And while you can’t account for every single possible variable, you can help make packing a breeze by planning way in advance.
Of course, there might be some unexpected last-minute things to figure out (no, all three of their favorite stuffed animals likely won’t fit in their backpack the morning of your flight), but planning ahead can help to avert delays and missing item disasters.
This is also a great way to ensure your kiddos are excited for the trip way in advance, and for both kids and adults alike, the anticipation of the vacation is part of the fun!
In addition to planning ahead, you can also plan a strategy for helping them pack that turns it into a game rather than a chore. Pull up a chair to the craft table to create a packing list with them, and maybe even print out some photos of your destination or choose some on-theme stickers to decorate the packing lists.
You can also use a calendar with a system for counting down the days, where you put a sticker next to each day as the departure approaches. Perhaps each day corresponds with a different packing-related goal, or there’s one day on the calendar that’s circled with bright glitter that’s the “deadline” for having packing done.
No matter how you spin this, the idea is to make packing a fun part of the vacation experience, so they’ll be excited to get involved with trip preparation.
Speaking of making the packing phase a fun activity, using luggage they’re excited about is a sure-fire way to make this a success.
If you’ve been thinking about getting them new backpacks anyway, this could be the perfect time to surprise them with new gear. Opt for kids’ backpacks that you can personalize just for them. Choose from kid-friendly prints that speak to their personalities, like a vibrant rainbow galaxy or a pink and white daisy print. You can also add a monogram to make it extra special.
If your trip will involve some day adventures, like day visits to a boardwalk or beach or to head into town from wherever you’re staying, you can help them feel even more prepared with a smaller drawstring bag or a fanny pack that they can also use to carry extra-special items on the travel day. They’ll love packing their different bags even more if their bags are fun and kid-friendly.
Now that you have a timeline, a game plan, and their backpacks and luggage picked out, it’s time to get to the actual packing. A great first step is letting them pick out all of the clothes and other items they want to bring. Have them place all of the items they want to bring on vacation on their bed or a rug on the floor. Next, go through the items and help them determine how many of each item they can bring, and what they’ll definitely need based on the vacation agenda and the weather where you’re all going.
For example, if they want to bring five kids’ dresses, help them pick out just one for the fancy dinner at the resort that’s booked. And if they simply can’t choose between their favorite kids’ T-shirts, you can help them strategize by referencing your snazzy packing list together and selecting the two they’ll definitely need on the trip.
Now, all that’s left to do is fold everything up into their personalized backpack and plan to do a final check the night before you depart. With everything packed and ready to go, you can focus on the fun (and on remembering to pack your own bag, of course!).