Truly, it is so much easier to pack clothes for your children then to have them do this for themselves. But as a parent you are all about teaching your children how to become independent and resourceful adults. By showing them how to pack their own bags and suitcases, you will have one less thing to be concerned about as you prepare your own bag.

1. Plan ahead.

Do not put off showing your children how to pack their bags the day before you leave for vacation. You need to ensure that your children have clean clothes and a variety of clothing for where you will be staying.

Days before you leave on vacation place suitcases in each child’s room, preferably on top of their beds were they will not miss it. Catch up on your laundry instead of having your children put their clean clothes in their chest of drawers, explain that they will need to place at least some of these items in their bags.

2. The right amount of clothes.

Figure that for every day that you and your family are away from home that they will need one set of underwear including underpants and socks. If the weather will be cold, then undershirts should be brought along as well. For instance, if you will be on the road for eight days, then your children should have eight pairs of socks, eight underpants and eight t-shirts.

Show your children how to put together their clothes by placing the t-shirt on the bottom of each stack with their underwear on top, followed by a pair of socks. You can roll or fold each set to keep these items together.

If you have no plans to do laundry while you are on the road then a shirt for each day should be packed as well. Figure that your children will need half as many pants. Other items to bring can include a belt, a light jacket, an extra pair of footwear and a baseball cap or hat. If your children will be going to the pool, than swim wear plus a towel should be included.

3. Get packing.

Each child should have the right size luggage for the trip. Luggage with wheels can help even the smallest child pull it along. Show your children how to fold the rest of their clothes and place these items in the luggage. Then, watch your children as they pack. Leave the room with instructions to each child to complete their work with a promise of a follow-up inspection.

Permit your children to bring a few of their favorite bedroom items with them on the trip. Once you have determined that the suitcase is properly packed, then let your son or daughter choose two or three stuffed animals, a game or some other favorite item that is appropriate for the trip. These items can go directly in the suitcase or be placed in a small bag for easy access while on the road.

4. Personal effects.

Depending on the age of the child, certain personal effects will still have to be packed by you. Figure that if you have teenagers, they know what to bring.

For younger children, they can help you gather the shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and other items appropriate for the trip. Of course, if your child has prescription medicines, only a parent should be responsible with bringing these items with them. Ensure that all medicines are up to date and kept in their original containers. Bring with you your pharmacy and doctor information as well.

Packing Considerations

Assign one bag as a laundry bag. Instruct your children to place their dirty clothes in the laundry bag and not back in their suitcase.

As your trip comes to an end, you may be left with several empty or nearly depleted bags as you head home. To save room, have your children help you consolidate what is left to one bag. Upon returning home, your children can remove their own bags and help you store them away for the next trip.

See Also — 8 Quick Packing Tips for Last Minute Travelers