Teaching your child to pack their own gear for a class or sport activity is a rewarding way to build independence. It may be bumpy at first, but long term it can really save you time!
No matter what the class (dance, music, sports) there is always something that needs to be prepped. Remember this great quote from Maria Montessori…
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.
Swimming lessons have always been a priority at our house, so teaching the girls to independently pack their own bag for the pool was important.
1. Start by letting your child know you are proud of how independent they’ve become. Give specific examples. Let them know moving forward that you think they are capable of packing their own bag for [insert your little one's favorite activity here]. We started using this approach when the girls where preschoolers in ballet and we still use it for more complex actives like swim club now.
2. Discuss what items they’ll need to pull together to be adequately prepared. Attempt to let them lead the conversation by volunteering to be the note taker.
3. Decide together on the best time to prep the bag. One of my daughters is a night owl, so for her it works best if we prep the gear the night before. My other little lady is an early bird, so she often gets her items together first thing in the morning. Take your child’s natural cycle, your schedule, and their personality into account when making this choice. I highly recommend setting the bag near the door, so when the time comes they don’t forget it.
4. Give your child a tool to ensure they succeed. Sometimes we use our Magnetic Chalkboard and Dry-Erase Board to create lists. In the past, we’ve used our Melissa & Doug Fashion Sticker Collection to make playful checklists. Sometimes taking a photo of all the items is a good way to help keep your little one on target.
5. The last step is the hardest, but most important part of this process. Give your child ownership of the task. Promise yourself that you’re not going to nag them about forgetting one of the items. If your little one has complications, simply adjust their tool to ensure their next attempt is full proof.
I know each child is unique and this sort of stuff always sounds easy in theory. If you have questions, or your child stumps you, let’s chat in the comments. We’ll find a solution together!
P.S. Be sure to stop by Let’s Lasso the Moon to read Raising Little Fish: Make Swimming Lessons FUN.
Are you thinking, “Oh my! Tell me more about those adorable and crazy pants the girls are wearing“?
These packing tips are brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador
Zina is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments.
Taking Care of You
We know your days are busy working, kissing boo-boos, juggling laundry, making dentist appointments, and reading good-night stories. As parents, we instinctively put our children’s needs first. We prioritize their health and their happiness above our own.
It’s time to step back and look at the whole picture. You need to take care of you FOR THEM. You are the only one who can give your child a happy parent who enjoys life. What a wonderful gift!
We know that Taking Care of You is easier said than done. So, throughout the summer, we’ll continue to share weekly posts with simple, easy, unique ideas to keep you inspired. In this special series, our Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassadors will share their practical, real-life advice on how to:
- Focus on your own well-being
- Make healthy eating simple + enjoyable
- Build exercise into your family routine
- …and more!