Here's the scenario. We're leaving for vacay tomorrow. Kids? Bouncing off the walls with excitement. 4Daddy? Working long/late nights to "get it all done" before we leave. Consequently, me? Overtired, stressed-out HAG!!!
It's ALWAYS like this as we get ready for vacation, no matter what the trip. Kids are crazy with excitement, 4Daddy's MIA, and I'm left holding the bag with crazed kids, fussy baby, and all the shit to pack. I so hope that Hindus are right. When I'm reincarnated, I'm coming back as a MAN! Shorter lines for the bathroom in public places, a wife, and showing up on the morning of vacay and just going on vacation. Now, that's the life.
Here's one of my tried-and-true ways for keeping my bigger 3 out of my hair during those last few days before vacation.
Quiet maker: Kids pack themselves for a trip
Mom time needed: 10 minutes
Kid time needed: 30 minutes+
Supplies: paper, clipboards, yarn or string or rubberband, writing implements, freebie clip art, computer and printer (unless you're dying to write this out by hand...you know, in your spare time)
Prep: The night (or week) before you want the kids to pack, print out a checklist for each of them. Embellish with freebie clip art to make it fun. For those that can read, be sure to leave them a little line or box to check off each item. I like mine to know that I want the shit folded and left ON MY BED, not thrown in a heap on the floor like the first time we tried this, so I spell that out right there in black and white at the top of the damn list. Print your cherub's list, slap it on a clipboard, and attach a pen with a piece of yarn. Oh, you can use pencil IF you want to hear 10,000 times that the pencil's broken. Go for it! I dare you.
For those that can't read, use freebie clip art to give pictures of what you need them to gather. If your cherub can count, then list the number of the item that she should gather; use BIG font! I do boxes around these with a sharpie after printing, and I attach a marker to her clipboard so that she can X out or color in the boxes after she's completed it.
So, print, clip, string a writing implement, and you're ready to roll!
Kids pack themselves for vacation in action: I've tried making this a race before, and I got big piles of clothes thrown in heaps at the foot of my bed. No thank you! So, instead, I now let them know that when their list is COMPLETED, read folded or laid nicely on my bed, then we do a "movie cave" (this is a future quiet maker post---stayed tuned!) or other fun activity. Whoever is able to get his or hers ready with no whining, folded or nicely laid on my bed, without a reminder from me to get it done earns 10 extra minutes of reading or DSi/Leapster time after lights out. Because that, my friend, is how I roll.
As you can see, 4B didn't heed that instruction (his stuff is on the left in the first picture) and got the opportunity to try again (second photo below--he looks so pleased, doesn't he?!). 4C was SO proud to be packing herself up for the trip. 4A, Aspie that she is, followed my instructions to the letter (her stuff is on the right in the first picture).
While my kids are doing their packing, I enjoy a pot of tea. Heck, it might be the only peaceful twenty minutes I get in my day. I can pack MY stuff in peace and quiet after they're in bed.