Months ago, we asked my mom to watch our two girls for 9 days while my husband and I take a trip to Maui in May. We knew it wouldn’t be a cake walk for her – even though she raised four kids. Getting the girls out of bed each morning, fed, dressed, and to daycare by 7am is a tall order. My husband and I rarely do this by ourselves, having each other for great support and assistance in our chaos, and I knew mom would be doing it mostly sans help (my dad leaves early in the morning and is home late during the week).
It was crucial that I pack my girls as simply as possible so Mom would not have to fumble through a mound of clothes trying to come up with an outfit for each girl.
My solution was Ziplock bags. I had an outfit for each day of school (shorts, shirt, socks) and packed it in a Ziploc bag that read:
type of shirt and shorts (I only did this because we were still having a couple cold spells mixed with super warm days)
I packed a total of 7 of these bags for each child – for the 7 days of school they would be attending while we were out.
Next I packed a bag full of enough undies for the time they were to be at Grandma’s and extra socks for my oldest. Labeled: “Eva underwear and extra socks”
For the weekend I packed one bag that included 4 shirts and a couple shorts (noting to mom that she would need to wash some shorts that were used during the school week) for my oldest and a bag of 3 or 4 outfits for the one-year old.
I packed one “church clothes for girls” bag including a dress and shoes for each girl.
Lastly, were the jammies. Our girls wear their pajamas for two nights in a row (barring they weren’t drenched with morning cereal milk). So I packed a bag for each girl including four pairs of PJs that were to be worn over the eight nights they’d be at Grandma’s.
Luckily Grandma’s house is stocked with baby wash, towels, baby and toddler friendly utensils, toys, books, so none of those items needed to be packed. I had a small bag with food and medicine that Grandma had not purchased in preparation for the trip (which was great of her). We did include their favorite nighttime items. In the end, we brought a carry-one and one small paper shopping bag for their stay at Grandma’s. Easy. Low-maintenance. And I assured mom I did not need all the clothes back in the baggies…I would be glad to sort everything out when we returned.
There were a total of about 20 baggies with clothes. It proved to be a successful way for Grandma to easily grab a separate bag each morning to get the girls ready for the day. While I have not had to use this method for a trip we have all taken together, I think it will definitely be something I do in the future to ensure a neat suitcase and quick recognition and resolution of the everyday problem, “What do I put on the girls today?”
Something else that was imperative for their stay at Grandma’s was an outline of our daily routine, eating habits, nighttime schedule and other miscellaneous important information.
Mom had important information already documented and in her phone: Daycare number, pediatrician number. We also left a very informal, signed, note giving her permission to take our children to a hospital for assessment and treatment, if needed. I’m not sure if this really mattered under the circumstances but it was something simple we did, just in case.
Have you found a simple way to pack your kids for long trips?