Getting through the airport on your own is hard enough. Getting through with a few kids and your sanity intact might secure your candidacy for sainthood. But as they always say about parenting, “it gets easier.” If you instill the right habits early on, you can actually put your kids in charge of their stuff.
Here are 6 tips for teaching your kids to monitor their luggage.
- Talk about responsibility – Responsibility typically isn’t something that happens naturally. Unless you explain things, they will continue thinking that you’re responsible for everything. If it’s the way it has always been, you can’t blame them. If you want your kids to monitor their luggage, you first have to tell them.
- Give them options – Monitoring luggage can be a major responsibility for a little one, so make sure to give them an out. Let them know that they can ask mom or dad to help if they’re feeling stressed. This shouldn’t be a crutch, but it should relieve some pressure if they feel like they have too much to handle.
- Show them how it’s done – Illustrate how you can keep an eye on your stuff by keeping it nearby. Show your kids how you always have your purse within reach unless you’ve asked someone else to watch it for you.
- Practice – Before you get into the big leagues, practice putting your kids in charge of their luggage. You can take it on short road trips or even to the grocery store. Try taking a small kid-sized suitcase with you to a service and repair center when you get your car serviced. It’s always a good idea to remove your valuable items when someone is working on your car, so this is a good time for your kid to practice responsibility for their belongings.
- Add something valuable – After you’ve practiced some, it’s time to up the stakes. Put something in the luggage that’s valuable to your child. You’ll still be in practice mode because you don’t actually want to risk losing your child’s favorite plushie. But they’ll be more likely to keep tabs on something if they fear losing it. It’s not easy to get a kid to monitor a suitcase of dirty laundry, but if you add a few Xbox games, that ups the ante considerably.
- Praise a job well done – Whenever your child successfully monitors his or her luggage, let them know you’re proud. After all, this is a big responsibility for a little person. They should be proud of themselves too. Now, you won’t have to worry about them on school trips or when they’re traveling with friends.
Getting your children to monitor their luggage will take something off your plate, but it also lays the groundwork for teaching children how to be responsible in their lives. At some point, they must learn that growing up comes with responsibilities. And if you can help them win at small responsibilities, they’ll be more eager to tackle the bigger ones later on.