This week we’re happy to feature a guest post by Jenni Mahnaz, of Witness Humanity, whose expertise on packing with teens grew from her backpacking trip across India with her daughter.
There are many articles out there about packing minimally with children- articles that really help you get down to the nitty-gritty needs when packing up the littles. But what about carry on packing with teens?
Teens are no longer in need of an adult packer but sometimes they need a little guidance, especially for a first trip. No 15 year old wants to be told by mom what she is, and is not, allowed to bring on a trip. However, if your family is dedicated to taking as little as possible, you may feel the urge to drive those packing decisions. So, how do you guide your teen when packing while simultaneously teaching him independence and autonomy?
Give Advance Warning
Give teens plenty of time and discuss limitations before hand. Springing clothing, electronic, and toiletry limitations on a your child at the last minute is a recipe for disaster. Make carry on only plans known far in advance so there are no surprises. Repeat the plans whenever the opportunity presents itself. Teens genuinely have lots going on in their minds and in their lives so hearing repeatedly that everyone will only be taking a carry on bag can really help get them in the right frame of mind when it’s time to pack.
Make a List
Not any old list, a list that details what they want to bring, what kinds of double duty an item might serve, and how versatile it is. Do this together but don’t be married to the idea that it must be done on paper. Talking out a list, drawing it, texting a list to yourself, and laying things out to look at are all valid ways of “making a list.” The point is to help your teen visualize how, and when, things might be used. We all fall into the, “I-might-need-this-nail-polish-so-I’ll-just-throw-it-in,” trap. Don’t get frustrated if your teen does the same. Just ask when and how he sees himself using that item. If she can’t think of a specific use, suggest setting it aside until the end. If there is still room after they pack the essentials, he can add a few items under the “just in case” category. Click to continue…