How to Pack: Traveling with Kids
Traveling with children? Prevent meltdowns and tantrums over what to wear by learning how to pack a suitcase for a child with these easy tips from Domestic CEO.
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Although I'm not a parent, I've been a nanny and ran childcare facilities for years before I became the Domestic CEO, so I have a piece of advice for parents. Kids have a very tough time making decisions when there are a lot of choices. Their minds simply can’t handle the overload. Heck, as adults we have a tough time when presented with too many options (think about how long it takes you to decide what you want to eat when a menu is 12 pages long verses a simple one pager). Help your child make decisions by narrowing the options down to no more than 3. Lay 3 outfit choices out on the bed, ask her which of these 3 choices she wants to take on your trip, then remove the one she chooses and replace it with another outfit so she can again choose from 3.
Now, you probably noticed that I said outfits, not shirts or pants. This is because, when packing for a child, you want to think in outfits, not pieces. Having your child pick out the top and bottoms, then even the underwear and socks to go with each outfit will help prevent any decision drama while on your vacation. Grab a few pairs of shoes that will go with every outfit. I suggest one pair of slip-ons, at least one pair of walking shoes, and then another that is specific to your location, like flip flops or snow boots. Make sure all the pairs you bring are ones that currently fit your child well so you don’t have to worry about blisters or achy feet during long days of walking.
Once you have an outfit for each day, pack another complete outfit or two depending on how much room you have in your bags as well as your child’s ability to stay dry and stain-free. Before you start overloading your bags with multiple outfits per day, remember that almost every hotel has washing machines or a Laundromat within a few miles in case you need to wash a few things while you are gone.
Packing Tip #2: Prepackage the Outfits
Now that you and your child have picked the outfits she is going to wear while on vacation, it’s time to package them up for even easier mornings. This is where packing a suitcase for a child differs from packing a suitcase for an adult. As adults, we may have lots of items we can mix and match, so we keep our shirts with shirts and pants with pants to easily find the right combination in the morning. When is the last time your child was able to wear any piece of clothing more than 1 time without getting it filthy or torn? Never? That’s what I thought. So, if you know that a certain shirt is going to be worn with a certain pair of shorts, pack them that way. I actually recommend putting them into gallon (or 2 gallon if your child is older) plastic baggies so your child can pick which outfit she wants to wear each day.
If you do an internet search for “How to pack a child’s suitcase,” you’ll likely find lots of mommy blogs that give this tip, but then take it a step farther and label each baggie with the day of the trip those clothes are going to be worn. I would advise against this step because...