How to Teach Children to Pack for Vacation?
“Mom, you didn’t put my yellow boots in the suitcase! Dad, I’m missing my toy!” How many times have you heard comments like that on a trip? Well, not anymore! Now’s the time to teach children how to pack for vacation.
You should know that it’s beneficial for everyone if your little ones do certain household chores that are appropriate for their age and that you can give them the opportunity to make decisions about them. This encourages their autonomy and independence, which will be decisive in other aspects of their lives.
One of those tasks that can help them learn to make small decisions is packing their suitcase when they go on a family trip. So, when you organize the next vacation, give your child the responsibility of choosing what to take and how to arrange their things.
Your task will be to supervise and guide them with the suggestions we’ll share below. What do you think?
“Nothing develops intelligence so much as traveling.”
Tips for teaching children how to pack for vacation
The day’s here! There are only a few hours left before leaving for your chosen vacation destination, so it’s time for the kids to pack their luggage. Here are the steps to teach them how to prepare everything. Pay attention!
Backpack or suitcase?
Depending on the type of trip you’re going to take, explain which format is more convenient for them.
If you’re going camping or to a country house, a backpack or a duffel bag will be more practical to carry. If you’ll be traveling by plane or train, which involves walking through airports and stations, a suitcase with wheels will be more comfortable to carry. In addition, it’ll keep clothes tidier.
Make a packing list
A few days before, check the weather forecast for the vacation destination and together make a list of clothes and accessories to pack.
This way, you teach your child to be proactive and to make a simple checklist, a habit that will be very useful at other times in life.
Divide the preparation of the suitcase
As this is the first time your child will take on this task, it’s important not to overwhelm them. Therefore, help them fragment the contents and give them only one area to organize.
Possible divisions are clothes, toiletries, shoes, and toys. For example, if you assign them “toiletries” and they do it correctly and are enthusiastic about the task, then you can go on to ask them to separate the shoes they’re going to take, and so on.
Assemble the suitcase together
At this stage, there are several things to teach your child that they should keep in mind when assembling their luggage:
- Order: all the contents of the suitcase must be tidy.
- Efficiency: use all compartments and pockets.
- Cleanliness: use bags to separate dirty items, such as shoes and toiletries, as they could stain the rest of the contents.
- Capacity: explain that the suitcase or backpack has a limited capacity and that all the things they want to bring have to fit in it.
Let them assemble the suitcase
Once everything is already separated and with the indications given, let them assemble their backpack or suitcase. According to their age, they’ll need more or less help.
Do the last check before closing the suitcase
Take the initial list and check with your child that nothing’s been forgotten, that everything’s tidy, and that the suitcase closes!
Have an extra tip for choosing clothes
The easiest way to choose what clothes to take is, first, to know what the weather will be like and what activities are planned at the destination.
Based on that, tell your child to choose an outfit for each day, including underwear, pants, a shirt, and a coat. If necessary, pack two jackets and the appropriate footwear for that place.
Ask them to arrange the clothes on their bed and see together if their choices were correct and if you notice that something needs to be changed, explain the reasons, and give them the opportunity to choose something else.
Packing for vacation: A new learning for children
Packing a suitcase isn’t only that. It’s also collaborating with the family so that mom and dad aren’t burdened with all the work prior to a trip.
This skill, which seems trivial, will give the child useful learning to apply to other tasks. For example, the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize. It will also increase their confidence and self-esteem, their desire to excel, and their sense of responsibility.
Now that you know how to teach children to pack for vacation and you know that this activity is beneficial for your child’s emotional development, what are you waiting for to plan your next family trip?
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Ben-Joseph, E. (2018) Conservando la salud al viajar. Kidshealth. Disponible en: https://kidshealth.org/es/parents/family-travel.html
- Universidad Católica del Maule (2021) Experta en educación inicial explica el valor de desarrollar la autonomía en los niños y niñas. Disponible en: https://portal.ucm.cl/noticias/experta-educacion-inicial-explica-valor-desarrollar-la-autonomia-los-ninos-ninas
- Tomé. M. (s.f.) Viajar con niños: La maleta perfecta. Disponible en: https://www.iberostar.com/inspiration-guide/lifestyle/viajar-ninos-maleta-perfecta/