Packing can be stressful alone when you’re taking a trip, but packing with kids too can be even more stressful. To start with, when I know I’m going on vacation (which we are taking two vacations in July with both sides of the family) I like to plan in advance. It may sound silly, but I make a packing list. My list has different categories: My suitcase, Nathan’s suitcase, Michael’s suitcase, our technology bag, toys and extras. I begin by making a list in each category of the obvious stuff, like clothes. Then I make sure I remember everything I use in the bathroom, like soap, razors, ect. I do this for each of us and each category because I have been knows to forget things in the past. I typically start making the list about a month in advance so if I remember something, I can add it to the list. Then as I put it in the bag, I cross it off, that way I know I packed it.
A hack that may make life easier with kids, especially when your husband may participate in getting the kids ready, is to put each outfit in a gallon Ziploc bag. That way you have the right top, bottoms and socks. You pull out a bag, put on the outfit and then it can go right back in the back when you take it off. It also packs in your suitcase better if you will be gone for multiple days.
Now comes the tricky part. The actual packing. You have your list ready, suitcases on the bed and you’re ready to go. But kids may be running wild, or fighting and it makes packing stressful. Here is what I recommend. Give them a task. Can you run and get this for mommy? Can you find this for me? Could you put this in the bag? Make it a group effort. That way your kids aren’t running wild, you can have help which makes the process faster and your kids feel like they are included. It gets them excited for the trip. Go as far as asking them what clothes they want to pack in their bag. Give them a few options and let them choose. When it comes to loading the car, in my house, it’s usually daddy’s job, but have the kids carry their suitcases to the car. Everything goes better when you work together.