As parents, we strive to provide our kids with enriched lives so they can be happy, healthy, and successful in all their goals. We want our kids to grow up and be better versions of ourselves by giving them the tools they need to navigate the ever-changing world, whether those are physical tools or life-lessons and skills. When they're toddlers, you can only teach them so much about responsibility, or at least that's how it may seem.
With our tips, you can give your young ones a taste of responsibility with one simple activity: packing their own bags.
On its surface, packing bags doesn't seem like that big of a deal, it's just gathering your things and putting them away, right? But there's actually a lot of thought and consideration that you don't even realize you use anymore because it's become second nature. By starting them young, your children will also learn how to plan, organize, and take care of their belongings by being entirely responsible for their care.
Here are just a few of the life skills that your child can learn from packing bags:
Packing bags or a backpack isn't as simple as tossing everything in and heading out, you need to think about how your items fit together, how you can keep them in good condition, or how you can easily find them when you need them. It's better to start when they're young and able to adapt, rather than when they're a teenager and can't ever find anything because it's in a pile in the corner.
By putting them in charge of packing their bags, they will learn how it feels to be responsible for their belongings and their wellbeing. Dump things in carelessly and their pencils might be snapped when they go to unpack it. Or they open it up expecting to find their homework or action figure and left both of them by their bed because it's too hard to see if everything that should be packed, is. Keeping them in charge of making sure that everything they need is there still means you can give them a reminder of "is everything you need in there" and being ready to catch them when they fail. After a couple mishaps, they will start to understand the importance of keeping their items where they belong.
Try as you might, you almost always need to leave something behind that you wanted to pack with you. Just because they want to take their stuffed animal, action figures, coloring book, and 128 crayon set doesn't mean they will all fit in their backpack. They will learn to decide what is most important for this trip and what will they be okay leaving behind. Do they really want to draw today, or would they rather pretend to battle with their toys? It's up to them as to what should stay at home.
Sometimes, things just don't fit right in backpacks or luggage and you need to get creative. Maybe there isn't the room for everything, but their friend they are visiting has spares that they would love to share and they could leave behind their set to save room. Or there's something bulky that takes up a lot of room, but is fairly light, like a stuffed animal, that they can carry around instead of taking up space in their backpack.
The more they pack their bags, the more confident they will be that they have the skills of a big kid. It'll take time for their confidence to build to a point that you don't need to peek in their back to ensure all their homework is there, but soon enough it's second nature for them just like it's become for you.
The next time you're getting ready for a trip or an outing, consider letting your children pack their own bags. It might seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in their development and in their future success. Packing bags is one simple activity that can teach your child life skills they'll use forever.