Do your kids pack for themselves?

foxcubmama

New Member
Aug 8, 2017
6
Northern VA
love the idea of having DS pack for himself with a list! he's 7 now so we're going to definitely do that our next trip!
DD will still need some help, she's only 3 :D
 

jfrasier

New Member
Oct 13, 2016
1
My kids are older now, 11, 14, and 18. We started early teaching them how to pack, as the two youngest are in boy scouts and that is one of the things drilled into them at an early age. Be Prepared! I would have them put everything on the dining table, before it went in their bags. I would review and let them know what they might be missing, or what they didn't need.

Now, I tell them how many days we will be gone, and if Mom will be doing laundry while we are gone. Basically I tell them how many days of clothing they need. They pack themselves. If they forget something, they go without. The only probelm we still have is they over pack their "survival gear" Four flashlights a piece is probably too many.
 

Daisy on my toe

Active Member
Jun 21, 2017
100
Chicago area
I am just curious about those who camp or travel with kids. Do you have them pack for themselves? At what age? Do you have a system for them to follow?
Yes, with guidance. My son is 9. I will tell him get 4 pairs of pants 5 of socks etc. and let him do the rest. I do give it cursory look over just to make sure he hasn't forgotten anything absolutely essential.
 

momofEAP

Active Member
Jan 24, 2015
141
Newton, KS
I usually don't need to with my older two, 13 & 12, but the youngest is only 10 and has Down Syndrome so we will keep helping him.
Our last trip out my middle child refused to let me check hers......she had to spend the whole weekend in the same underwear! I don't think we will have trouble with her again!
 

Dave Brick

El Cheapo Family Camper
Nov 29, 2010
230
My "absent minded professor" son (15) got to the campground and found out he did not pack or wear ANY SHOES! He is actually a really bright kid, but obviously gets a little sidetracked at times. Fortunately the camp store had cheap flip flops.

A few years ago, we bought these packing cubes, from Sierra Trading Post I think. 4 different colors, big enough to stuff in clothing for 5 days if the weather is warm, including a bathing suit or 2. Everybody has their own color coded cube, and is responsible to pack their own stuff. I taught my kids my system, start with your footwear, move up your whole body until you are covered.

I guess my son wasn't listening that time.
 

chambo

Active Member
Apr 27, 2015
358
Southern California
My kids have been packing for themselves since they were about 5 and 7. I update the attached checklist based off where we are going and for how long. They pack their stuff into a bin and the bin goes in the trailer. Works great. Before my youngest could read his list would be a bunch of clip art pictures to represent what he needed. 3 shirt pictures meant he needed to pack 3 shirts. It was a lot of work to make, but they enjoyed the responsibility. Now that they are older (10 &13) the lists are more of a suggestion. I insert a picture of the weather forecast for our destination and they can deviate from the list as they see appropriate.
 

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Jeep Guy

Active Member
Mar 7, 2018
262
My 8 year old daughter usually packs for herself when she goes somewhere. My 15 year old step son must have supervision when packing. He is extremely irresponsible for his age. He would bring like a pair of socks and his phone, then complain when we got there that he had nothing because nobody told him exactly what to bring.
 

Orchid

Sharp Shootin' Grandma
May 8, 2011
5,832
Florida by way of WV and MD
love the idea of having DS pack for himself with a list! he's 7 now so we're going to definitely do that our next trip!
DD will still need some help, she's only 3 :D

Hate to say it, but the 3 year old girl would likely do a better job than the 7 year old boy. Having two girls and two boys (now grown) I can say that boys are not great at stuff like that. I still pack for my husband.


My 8 year old daughter usually packs for herself when she goes somewhere. My 15 year old step son must have supervision when packing. He is extremely irresponsible for his age. He would bring like a pair of socks and his phone, then complain when we got there that he had nothing because nobody told him exactly what to bring.

This kind of doesn't surprise me, although 15 is a bit old to not be able to handle himself. My girls could pack themselves at 8, but definitely not the boys. In retrospect, I should have started making them a list of what to bring and letting them do so at an earlier age. As a SAHM, I did way too much for my kids. For the girls, they matured quickly despite that, the boys just kicked back and let me handle things with no real desire for independence.

Thankfully, they are all grown, responsible adults. Even so, hindsight is 20/20 and I would do things differently now. I would suggest making your stepson a written list, if that's what it takes. Honestly, by 15 even my sons were packing for themselves and they were late bloomers (probably my fault.) Unless he has some kind of disability, I think I would start holding him accountable. After being given a list of what to bring, if he doesn't bring the correct things, let him suffer the consequences of not having them for the trip. I'll bet he would not forget those items again.
 

myride

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 14, 2015
1,273
Edmonton, AB
After far too many trips allowing my daughter to pack my granddaughter for our summer trips ending up with too many of one thing and far to few of others here's what I do.
Every spring I pick up the grandaughter (started when she was 4) and we head over to our local secondhand clothing store. Here we find a weeks worth of short/long pants, light/heavy tops. Then Wally world for weeks worth of socks, undies and 2 bathing suits. All goes in her "camping bag" along with her shower shoes and STAYS in the trailer for the season. All that's required are 2 pair of shoes and a jacket whenever we head out. Last years clothes go back to donation and every spring we start the process all over again. Her mom figured 2 shorts and 14 tops (or vise versa) was good......God help me....
I was tired of never having enough of one thing or another and this shopping trip took care of ALL the grief...and grandpa stays stress free....lol
 

Jeep Guy

Active Member
Mar 7, 2018
262
Hate to say it, but the 3 year old girl would likely do a better job than the 7 year old boy. Having two girls and two boys (now grown) I can say that boys are not great at stuff like that. I still pack for my husband.




This kind of doesn't surprise me, although 15 is a bit old to not be able to handle himself. My girls could pack themselves at 8, but definitely not the boys. In retrospect, I should have started making them a list of what to bring and letting them do so at an earlier age. As a SAHM, I did way too much for my kids. For the girls, they matured quickly despite that, the boys just kicked back and let me handle things with no real desire for independence.

Thankfully, they are all grown, responsible adults. Even so, hindsight is 20/20 and I would do things differently now. I would suggest making your stepson a written list, if that's what it takes. Honestly, by 15 even my sons were packing for themselves and they were late bloomers (probably my fault.) Unless he has some kind of disability, I think I would start holding him accountable. After being given a list of what to bring, if he doesn't bring the correct things, let him suffer the consequences of not having them for the trip. I'll bet he would not forget those items again.

We do hold him accountable for his irresponsible behavior. In Louisiana, a kid can get their learner's permit to begin driving with an adult and his dad refuses to let him get the permit unless he starts acting responsible. We tell him that he is old enough to wash his own laundry and he must do it to have clean cloths for school. He does not do it constantly and very often wears dirty clothes to school. We are hoping that he gets embarrassed by the smell of his dirty cloths and he will wash. My wife has even commented that our 8 year old daughter is more mature than him in so many ways. He does not have any real disabilities other than being very very ADHD and having oppositional defiant disorder. He has been in gifted programs at school for most of his time in school. He is just a very late bloomer.
When I was 15, I already had my full drivers license and I had a part time job. I grew up in a different time in the 70's and 80's.
 

Orchid

Sharp Shootin' Grandma
May 8, 2011
5,832
Florida by way of WV and MD
He does not have any real disabilities other than being very very ADHD

That's a pretty serious disability and explains why he can't stay focused enough to pack for himself. It can most definitely alter the path of a person's life.

It runs in my family and it's so obvious to tell who has it and who does not. Those who do not are doctors, engineers, and lawyers - multiples of each. Those who do have it are high school drop outs with low or mediocre incomes. All the intelligence levels are similar.

Everyone in my generation was grown before it was recognized. My own kids were older before it was something doctors took seriously. One of my grown daughters is on medication for it now and able to function so much better. She was a walking nervous breakdown trying to function prior. She was successful, but took so much out of her to be that it wasn't worth it.

So far I only see it in one of my grandchildren and one of my cousin's kids. They have the best support possible to give them positive outcomes.
 

sterniebernie

New Member
Mar 20, 2018
7
Southeaster Louisiana
Depends on the trip. For shorter trips I let the younger boys pack for themselves (ages 18, 9, 7). But for our trip to the Rockies I usually go over their packing b/c it is cold weather that they aren't used to and I don't want to find out on a 28 degree night that they don't have socks or a hat. Growing up in South LA makes it a little difficult for them to truly understand cold weather packing.

I started them packing on their own around age 7 or so. My oldest obviously does her own stuff.
 

Crystal Graves

New Member
Jan 31, 2022
3
Arkansas
Not yet. While we do foster an environment of independence and "do it for yourself".....

Our 3 kids are 7 (B) and 4 (B/G twins).... that would not end well.

In a few years, absolutely.
So- funny story- we went camping for the first time last weekend. It was last minute, only one night, and I’m scrambling to pack everything. My kids- 5 and 3- are excited, they want to pack, too. I don’t have time to help them so I just make a few suggestions. I do throw a couple pairs of pants and some pull ups and wipes in my 3 year olds bag.
we get to the campsite and I realize I never helped them finish packing lol.
God bless 5 yo, she got both their toothbrushes and toothpaste, her own pjs and a change of clothes and toys and a stuffy. 3 yo had nothing I hadn’t packed.
But I mean- they lived. It was fine.
 

Jimbow

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Nov 30, 2012
2,056
When I was a Scout leader one of the first things we tried to train parents on was to let their kids pack their own gear. We had an emergency set of clothes available but I can't recall them ever being used.

We might call it bullying today but if someone would say "my mom forgot to pack . . ." They would be teased quickly and told in this Troop we take care of our own gear.

I would teach them my toes to head packing check. What shoes, socks, underwear, pants, belt, shirts, hat, jacket do I have packed? What if it is 100° and sunny? 50° and rainy?
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,205
Nj
I let my daughter pack her stuff, since she was 8, shes 10 now. I do check to see what she packed and for longer trips give her a check list. There were time she forgot stuff like socks, underware, bathing suits, etc. But it was always checked before we left. At 10, she dosen't forget anything now.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,727
Northern Virginia
Way back when my little side kick was 5 we decided to go camping spur of the minute. we told her to go pack while we got our food and other things together. Once we were finished I found three trash bags in the hall. Come to find most every single toy in her bedroom was packed and waiting in the hall to go on our trip. Not a single outfit just toys. Hauled all the toys back to her room and then explained she has to choose only a few toys and then get clothes, etc together. Which we did together. Apparently never realized how hard it was for a 5 yo to pick a few toys. Getting clothes was easy. Oh how things have changed now that she is a teenager. Apparently choosing a few outfits takes HOURS and those few outfits grew to a whole lot more as things that HAVE to come. So long she keeps them in her bag ok.
 

gladecreekwy

Super Active Member
Sep 25, 2016
1,758
Jackson Wyoming
Yup. My daughter since she was ten. Now she helps her little brother now ten. ( we always double check) We keep almost everything in the camper including warm clothes, hats , gloves etc. so if they forget something no big deal
 

NLB

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2021
501
West Palm Beach, Florida
They are all grown now, but I was a helicopter dad for all 5. Why you ask?
Because DW and I were going on a trip to a resort at Marco Island. Our bags were packed and in our room at home. I asked the boys to please put the bags in the car, we got to Marco, I opened the trunk and stared at the ONE suitcase that belonged to my DW.
My suitcase never made the trip. No clothes, shoes, toiletries, nothing.
Hit up Walgreens and a beach store…looking like a tourist for a week.
We have laughed about that trip for 30 years.
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
We taught our son to pack for scouting trips. We gave him a checklist to start with as a Cub Scout/Tiger. Then went through the checklist with him afterwards to verify every item as it was being placed into his bag. Before he became a Webelo, he was able to do it by himself. Even as a Boy Scout, he followed a checklist since we didn’t live close by the Troop and didn’t want to accidentally leave something at home. He had different checklists for every type of trips: hot, cold, mild, car camping, scout camp, boondocking, and hiking trips. He was also the Quartermaster at his Troop. And having a checklist was very useful in managing the troop’s gear, equipment and trailer. He was a great Quartermaster and was elected several times into the position. He loved the responsibility and teaching younger scouts on how to use camping equipment.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 




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