Week 9: Learning Life Skills with a Packing List
Going on a trip for Spring Break? Cut down on your work by having your kids pack themselves! It’s great learning for them, and helpful to you.
Letting your kids pack their own things is a great way to get even very young kids to do something for themselves that they absolutely can do. With The Trip Clip Packing List, you can customize what items you ask your child to pack for themselves, so you can cater your list to match your child’s abilities.
For young kids, you can keep it simple. With this list they can match socks, count their clothing items, and collect a few easy to find objects that are important to them.
When I first did this with my kids, I was surprised that this actually helped me. They were slower at it than I would have been, but I had so much packing of my own to do, even this little bit that I didn’t have to do myself made a difference. I just had to check their work when they were done. When they were very young, someone always miscounted, or brought warm weather clothes when they needed cool weather clothes, or something like that. But even that is a learning experience for them. When you always pack their clothes for them, they don’t learn the skill of thinking about the upcoming trip and planning for what they will need.
As they got older, I had them do more of their packing themselves, which included things that were harder to pack (toiletries), or items that were more scattered around the house or required more decision-making (pool toys they wanted with them).
We also got them their own, smallish suitcases pretty early on so that they could pack themselves and pay attention to their things without having everything disappear into our large family suitcases. That gave us the added benefit of teaching them to manage their own suitcases at the airport, or get them in and out of the car on road trips – again, less work for us!
One of my favorite things about The Trip Clip is that I can save the lists I create. Not only can I store separate lists for each of my kids (my older son needs his retainer, where my younger son needs his teddy bear), but even more critical is that I have one list for trips to warm, sunny places and a separate list for cold, snowy places. I love not having to start from scratch each time we are packing for a trip.
The Trip Clip can even help teenagers with their packing. Now that my older son is 12, I have him make his own packing list. I check it to make sure we won’t be missing something important, but figuring out on his own what things he will need for a week away from home is great practice for him. And the list of clipart on the left help because he has the reminders of things he might need for him to choose from. Having a list is especially important for him because he is one of those kids who would forget his head if it wasn’t screwed on. We try to give him as much practice as we can with the tasks involved with planning what he’ll need and making sure he has it all.
Someday our kids will have to do this kind of planning all by themselves, and I think it’s important to make sure they’ve learned all the skills involved before they are heading off to college!