When my kids were younger, I did all of the packing for our family trips (except for my husband, who thankfully packs for himself). If I let them pack on their own, we would end up with a suitcase full of stuffed animals.
As my kids got older, I started asking them to help pack. I will give them a list of things they need to collect (i.e. 6 tops, 2 swimsuits, etc.) and then I pack them.
My oldest son is 18 now, so I asked him to pack his suitcase on his own. This is what I got:
Clearly, he will look like he just rolled out of bed every day. I realized that I must teach him the art of packing. But, I sure got a good laugh out of this.
Readers, do your kids pack their own suitcases for your trips? How involved are they in the packing process, and at what age do they help?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.
I must’ve got a unicorn teen boy. He is 14 and packs his suitcase neatly with all his pants and shirts rolled up so they won’t wrinkle. He started packing his own bags when he started going away for school competitions a year ago. I quickly do a checklist with him after he is done to make sure he didn’t forget anything. My 11-year-old girl does a pretty good job too. I do go behind her to make sure she didn’t forget anything.
@Jennifer I’m impressed!
He’s more of a grownup than I am, honestly. He takes after his father. 😉
I have always packed for my kids things for all our trips since they were little. Even now, I still pack for my 24 year old but with his “preferred” shirts and shorts/pants. Mainly because I’m an “enabler” but also for selfish reasons…I don’t want to have to hear it during our vacation if someone forgot this or did not bring enough of this. Also, if I let my now 24 year old pack, he’ll take as much space as he could coz he’s a pack-rat! Vacation time for me is such a sacred thing; I want it as relaxing as possible! No cooking, no working, and no listening to any complaints!
@Liz I understand!
Maybe try to get him into packing cubes. They’ve helped members of my family.
@Christian Good idea.
Ian Snyder (Family Flys Free) says
Haha, that’s about how my 12yo packs.
@Ian When I talked to him about it, he replied, “I know how to fold clothes. I just choose not to.” Ha!
All 4 of my kids have been packing their own suitcases for trips since each was 8 or 9. I usually just call through a list while we are all standing at the door to leave asking if they have correct number of socks, underwear, swimsuit, toothbrush, etc. If anyone forgot something, they run back to their room to get it then. We have very few things that have been forgotten over the years.
@ArkansasTraveler It sounds like a good system!
That’s hilarious! My wife leads the packing with our kids (I plan, she packs… though I pack my own suitcase). Over the last couple years she’s had them load up their packing cubes and she’ll double check them. They’re now between the ages of 10 and 13 and while showing a lot of improvement, aren’t quite ready for primetime, but they’re close.
@projectx Glad your kids are making progress with packing! I have some work to do with my kids. 🙂
My daughter has done that when she was younger as well. Thank goodness she started watching mom more and now her packing is a little better.
@Deva I’m glad her packing is improving!