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Sunday, June 13, 2010

9 Tips For A “Team Effort” Packing List

If you have two or more school-age children, a magnetic white board attached to the fridge is the way to go. Failing that, a plain old ordinary list, left in a prominent, semi-permanent place.

1. Use different colored washable or erasable marker for each child, to act as a quick visual “cue”

2. Have a color for you too!

3. Divide the list into “Must Have” and “Would Like To Bring”

4. Explain in advance that there will (or won’t) be a rigid number of items per child – but there will be a cut off point, load-wise (One popular plan is to get each child a backpack for “extra” on-the-road items – and to stress they will have to carry and be responsible for it themselves. In other words, if it doesn’t fit in their one designated backpack or tub, it doesn’t go.)

5. Pre-load the list with essentials (using your special-color marker, so they know this is mom’s decree). This will accomplish 2 things: not only will you know the items you deem essential are safely on there, so you can’t forget them – but seeing items already on a list is a known cue to help people “get started” on their own ideas.

6. If one or more of your children is very young, either fill out the list for them or designate one of your older children to be their “writer”

7. Call a family meeting. Go over the list before the trip, to make sure nothing has been missed.

8. If one child wants to bring too many items, help them by negotiating about what’s reasonable and what’s just not going to work. Explain why.

9. The day before the trip (if possible) get involved in helping each child pack. Make checking off the items on the list with their special markers a fun project


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