You might be planning a holiday trip, going for a short weekend getaway, or even making a permanent move. In any case, you will need to go through the stressful ordeal of packing. Whether you are packing to go on holiday or relocating to a new house, it is a complicated and tiring task. Throw your kids’ packing into the equation and it gets even more complex.Brina Blum
Trying to fit everything into your bags, as well as planning the actual trip, all while being pressed for time are just some of the things you have to endure during this time. That is why it is so important to be fully aware of everything involved in the process of packing. To be successful, there are a few things to consider when packing with children.
- Keep them occupied
When packing for any trip, you need to think about the length of the journey. If your kids are bored during a long-haul flight or drive, it can be incredibly difficult to handle. Restless kids are more than a handful, and will tire you out quickly.
To prevent this, I suggest packing toys, books, and games to keep them occupied during the journey. Lightweight books are easier to pack into your luggage compared to oddly-shaped, bulky toys so are a much better choice. If your children insist on bringing toys, limit them to one small bag so that they won’t bring too much. Ration the toys and games between your kids to prevent them becoming bored with everything quickly.
Other than the non-tech options, load your iPad with plenty of fun apps, films and games to keep them entertained. Headphone splitters are fantastic for letting your kids listen in at once, allowing them to share. Of course, you need to think carefully if you prefer digital or non-digital entertainment for your children.
- Prep your kids
Before you travel with your family, your children need to be prepared. Let them know well ahead of time about what is going on. For longer trips or even relocating to a new area, prepping your kids is even more important since there will be a lot of travelling in unfamiliar surroundings and your children might feel stressed or unhappy. If they know what to expect, they will be able to better handle the new environment.Pete Wright
Get them excited for what they will see on the trip—teach them about the places and sights they will see by feeding their curiosity. Try getting a head start on learning the new language, writing out a few useful phrases for your trip. Get them ready for the change in cuisine by eating out at different restaurants or cooking foreign specialties. This preparation is also needed when moving to a new house. Let them know about what will happen on the moving day as well as the build-up.
- Get them involved
Packing is generally not thought of as being a fun undertaking; instead, you might feel overwhelmed about completing it on time. One way to make it more fun is to get your kids involved in the whole packing process. This is especially great since children often feel ignored or left out of the decision-making when travelling. While you might not have the luxury of letting your children pick your holiday destination, you can at least allow them to pack their belongings. This way, they can choose their outfits and items they will use on the trip, as well as feel active in your vacation preparation.
Additionally, this will lighten your workload. Instead of doing it all on your own, your children can participate. The only thing you will need to do is review their choices and make sure that they are appropriate. You will be surprised at how useful this trick—you free up some time for planning the other aspects of your trip. Also, giving your kids responsibilities early on in life is crucial in their development!
- Allocate a set of clothes
You’ve probably found yourself in this situation before. You arrive at your destination after a long, tiring flight and all you want to do is get to your hotel and collapse on the bed. However, your bags don’t end up on the luggage belt and you find out that it has been sent to the wrong destination or missed the flight completely. During this time, one of the issues to worry about, other than your missing luggage, is having something to wear for the first few days.
Even though lost luggage is difficult to prevent, you can help alleviate the problem by packing a few days’ outfits in your carry-on in case of emergencies. Setting aside some clothes to prepare for lost luggage will make things easier while you sort out the rest of your belongings—you will not have to spend unnecessarily on clothes at your destination.
The same goes when moving. Pack a bag for the first few days at your new home—this will include clothes, linen, and your childrens’ favourite items. Having these items readily available makes the transition much more smooth.
- Keep a good fuel supply
One of the most important things on any trip is to keep everyone energised. There is nothing worse than your children getting hungry, and ultimately irritated. As soon as this happens, the trip will quickly take a downturn. Avoid this by packing healthy, tasty snacks so that you can fight off the pangs of hunger until proper mealtimes!
Not only will this keep everyone calm throughout the journey, your family needs to be full of energy when travelling. Going on a long trip can be exhausting, and if you are moving house, they need to be fully energised to be ready for your new home.
- Be tough
When it comes to packing, you need to be honest and tough. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll need a lot of items while on a holiday trip. However, packing everything means your luggage will be extremely heavy—just think about how much you’ll struggle dragging your bags through the streets or at the airport, as well as the trouble of fitting everything back once your trip ends. Instead of going all out on packing, your best bet is to pack light and strategically.
Pack only things you absolutely need and choose clothes that you can mix and match in various ways. Glance over your kids’ bags and look for ways to minimise weight and maximise space. Keep the amount of toys down and opt for lightweight books or games.
This strict packing mentality can even be used when moving house—think decluttering—where you can save a significant amount of time and money. Only pack items that you use regularly and forget the things that you haven’t touched in more than a year. By being tough, you’ll pack much more intelligently and efficiently.
This is a guest post.