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Teaching Children Responsibility: Organising and Packing for Holidays

Packing for a holiday. While it can seem like a bit of a chore to us adults, this task offers the perfect opportunity to teach children about planning, organising, and accountability. Involving children in the process, not only helps them to prepare for the trip, but also instils habits that will benefit them in other areas of their lives.x


Here are some tips on how to make packing for your holiday a fun and educational activity for your children;


Start with a Family Meeting

Before you even begin with the packing, get together as a family to discuss the trip. Tell them about where you’re going (show them photos and videos if possible), what the weather will be like, and describe the activities you’ll be doing. This will help set the stage for why packing certain items is important and get the children thinking about what they will need. Encourage your children to ask questions, make suggestions, and voice their opinions. This involvement will give them a sense of responsibility and ownership over the process. 


Make a Packing List Together

Sit down with your children and create a packing list. This can be a fun activity that will really get them excited about their holiday. For younger children, get them to draw pictures of the items they think they should take. For older children, help them write their own lists. This is a good time to make suggestions about items they may have forgotten to include by asking questions like, “How will you brush your teeth?” and “What will you wear when you go in the swimming pool?”.


Share the Fun

Divide the packing responsibilities among your children based on their age and ability. For example, younger children can be in charge of selecting their favourite toys or gathering toiletries together, while older children can fold and pack their own clothes. Children will learn the importance of contributing to the family effort, and lots of praise will encourage their enthusiasm and boost their confidence. Over time, when done regularly, doing similar tasks such as getting their school bag ready each day, preparing their own snacks or lunch, or even sorting the washing will slowly give them greater independence in general.


Decision Making

Packing for a trip involves making choices about what to take and what to leave behind, and is a great opportunity to teach children about decision making. For instance, if they want to pack a bulky item, explain how it will mean leaving something else out due to space limitations. Discuss the pros and cons of their choices and guide them towards making practical decisions. This skill is transferable to other areas of their lives, such as managing their time or prioritising school work.


Make it a Game


Turn packing into a game! Making the process fun will help your children to develop a positive attitude towards responsibility, and will also kick off the holiday excitement!


Packing Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt where children have to find and pack specific items from a list. You could use pictures or drawings for younger children, and provide clues or riddles for older children to make it more engaging. 


Packing Race: Set a timer and see who can pack their bag the fastest, while making sure all items are included. This can be a fun competition between siblings, friends, or parent and child.


Packing Bingo: Create a bingo card with different packing tasks or items. As children complete each task or find each item, they can mark it off on their card. The first to get bingo wins a small prize. 


Packing Puzzle: You could use packing cubes (readily available online and great for maximising space in your suitcase) or small bags for this game. Challenge your children to put all their items into the cubes/bags in the most efficient way and see who can fit the most into their suitcase. Great for encouraging problem solving and spatial awareness. 


Packing Relay: Take it in turns packing items into a suitcase. Each person has to pack one item before rushing to tag the next player. A fun way to get things done quickly while also promoting teamwork. 


Encourage Independence

While it’s important to guide your children, it’s equally important to let them do as much as they can on their own. Try to resist the urge to repack their bags or take over their planning. Allowing them to make mistakes is a crucial part of the learning process, and if they do forget something, use it as a teachable moment and try not to criticise. However, if you think there is a very high probability of your child packing only snow boots and the cat for your week in Greece, maybe it is worth casting your eye over the contents of their suitcase before you set off!



So when it’s time for your next holiday, don’t do all the packing for your children; get them involved in the process. Not only will you be teaching them valuable skills, but once they’ve got the hang of it, you will have more time to enjoy the best part… looking forward to the break!