You have a vacation coming up soon and your children have been begging to do their own packing. You want to agree, but what if they leave essential clothing or items at home? At what age can a child pack their own suitcases?
Any child seven years or older can pack their suitcases confidently, but you might need to make a list of things to pack to help them out.
In this article, I’ll share my definitive guide to helping kids pack so you can all have a successful family vacation. Make sure you keep reading!
Different Age Recommendation For Packing
Children always want to be involved in what you’re doing, and that includes packing for a trip. However, depending on their age, this might not always be appropriate.
Here are my recommendations for when children should start packing their own items.
- Two years old: You should pack everything for the kids by yourself or with your spouse or partner.
- Two years old up to reading age: Pack their essentials but set aside an extra bag and let them pack their toys, entertainment devices, and storybooks. This will prepare them for the idea of traveling and being responsible from a young age.
- Reading to reasoning age: This age group can pack for themselves provided you give them a packing list. Also, allow the kids to choose the clothes they want to wear and let them pack those as well.
- Seven to 10 years old: Kids at this age can pack for themselves, but it’s still a good idea to check that they brought all the essentials.
- 11 years old into teenage years: Kids at this age can independently pack their items without getting you involved. They might not even want you involved, so let them have some independence.
The Ultimate Packing Guide for Kids
It takes time for kids to learn how to pack unless they get to do it often. Up until a certain age, your guidance is essential, especially when children are packing for the first time.
Here is a guide on how kids should pack their suitcases.
Preparation starts with knowing your itinerary, the days you will be away, and the weather.
It’s also essential to consider the cultural norms of your destination. For instance, in some countries, women aren’t allowed to wear shorts or strappy tops, especially when visiting religious places.
Unfortunately, most people don’t look into the cultural factor.
What type of vacation are you planning for your loved ones? Your kids must pack their swimming gear if it’s a beach vacation.
On the other hand, they will need to bring their warm jackets and hiking boots if they will be camping or hiking.
The other way to prepare is by considering the mode of transport you will use to reach your destination.
If it’s by road, you may not have many limitations on luggage, but if it’s by air, your kids’ luggage may be limited by the pound.
Additionally, consider if your holiday home or hotel offers laundry services. You and the kids may not be willing to do laundry while away.
If the hotel doesn’t have a laundry machine, let the kids carry enough clothes for the days you will be away.
Make a List
It will be difficult for your kids to pack their essentials all in their heads. They may end up forgetting some essentials for the vacation.
You should therefore make a packing checklist to let the kids pack faster without thinking hard.
When packing, they should bring more than what they need in case they spill on their clothes or otherwise stain them.
The list below gives you an example of what your family should pack for a weeklong expedition.
One Week Packing List For Kids
- Casual clothes: Holidays are for casual wear, so your kids should pack casual shorts, t-shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, leggings, jackets, and sweaters. Remember to bring socks, underwear, and pajamas too.
- Swimwear and Gear: From swim vests to bottoms, rashguards, wristband alarms, and armbands, these summery items are essential for beach and pool vacations.
- Footwear: Water shoes, sneakers, and sandals top the list of holiday footwear.
- Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses: The kids can never have too much sun protection. Bring plenty of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses!
- Reusable water bottles: When on vacation, most people spend their time outside participating in energy-draining activities. This may lead to frequent dehydration, so a kid’s suitcase should have a reusable water bottle tucked in there.
- Entertainment devices: Electronics are essential for any vacation. They keep kids entertained so you can enjoy some peace and quiet. From iPads to portable video game consoles and portable DVD players, leave some space in the suitcase for these items. Don’t forget the headphones and charging cables!
- Books: A vacation is meant to relax the body and mind; your kids should include some books in their suitcases if they’re the reading type.
- Kid-friendly toiletries: Pack shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and a comb and hair accessories. Not all hotels provide these items, so your kids need them.
Pack The Suitcase
Packing a suitcase doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you and the kids have already chosen what to pack.
When packing, start with the shoes and lay them on the bottom of the suitcase, then proceed with the clothes.
Here are several packing methods your kids can use to fill up the rest of their suitcases.
The Rolling Method
The rolling method entails rolling each piece of clothing into a log shape and placing it in the suitcase.
This is the easiest packing method for kids, and it’s kind of fun too!
The rolling method is best for t-shirts, sweaters, and pants; you won’t have to worry about wrinkles once you roll the items.
The Bundling Method
The bundling method involves folding longer clothing around the smaller ones to plan an outfit.
For instance, if you plan to wear a particular pair of pants with a specific shirt, you bundle the two items together.
Remember to start with the underwear and socks, followed by the shirt and pants. This way, each outfit remains together and is easy to pick. The method is ideal for kids because most have no patience to sort out things one by one.
The Packing Cube Method
Unlike the above packing methods, the packing cube method doesn’t save space. However, it will come in handy in keeping the kid’s clothes organized.
Besides, you can bundle or roll your clothes and pack them using this method. The packing cube method also makes it easier for one to access their clothes.
Packing Tips For Kids
Packing needn’t be stressful, even if the kids are handling it. Here are tips to help your kids pack their suitcases.
Bring a Separate Bag for Dirty Clothes
A separate bag is a must when packing because that’s where your kids will put all the used clothes.
Bring a lockable and foldable bag so in case you need extra space, you can use it when checking in.
Use Packing Cubes With Color Coordination
If you have two or more kids and want them to use the same suitcase, let each have a cube of their own to avoid a mixup. The cubes should be different colors or personalized so each child can tell them apart.
Why Should You Teach Your Kids How To Pack?
As much as packing your kids’ suitcases gives you peace of mind, it’s more beneficial to teach your kids how to pack their own items.
The kids will feel more independent as they enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that is packing their own suitcase.
Packing on their own also makes a child more excited about traveling.
You’re also allowing your child to express themselves through their clothing, possibly for the first time in their lives. That’s a big step!
Any kid from seven years onward can pack their own suitcase when provided with a packing list. Allowing your kids to pack their suitcases will encourage a sense of responsibility and teach them to be in charge of their personal items.
I hope this article helps you enjoy easier trip preparations with your kids!