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Family Packing Tips for an ADHD / ADD child

So summer is in full swing. If you haven’t already taken a family trip this summer, you are possibly bound to do so before a new school year starts again. Your family may already have the perfect place already picked out for your summer vacation trip. The only problem you now face as a parent is getting everyone to pack their own bags / suitcases. Well, that should be easy, right? It should be easy, but sometimes we can make things more difficult than they should be due to procrastination and not being organized. For some people, it may be due to ADHD issues / ADD issues and have nothing to do with being lazy nor disorganization.

First, before you begin packing, you should research the area where you will be traveling to make sure you bring the correct types of clothes. If you plan to visit an amusement park or walk around the town sightseeing most of your trip, it would be best to pack sneakers instead of dress shoes or heels (unless you are someone who can wear heels in any environment, then more power to you).

Next, you need to search online for a free packing checklist. Just Google “free packing checklist” and you should be able to find one tailored to your liking. The checklist can be used to ensure you don’t forget important items. Go down the list and mentally (or physically) check off each item as you gather them together. Again, be mindful of the climate where you plan to travel and the types of activities you have planned for each day. Then, grab your suitcase or bag and get ready to pack for your trip.

If you know someone with ADHD / ADD, then you may already know that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ADD (attention deficit disorder) can prevent adults and children from finishing or even starting a task. The three most common symptoms for ADHD are (1) very short attention spans, (2) very impulsive and (3) hyperactive. Due to these symptoms, it may be hard to complete the task of packing their own bag. I have found the best way to pack for a child with ADHD / ADD is to pack items together needed for each day. My daughter recently went on a church youth retreat for a few days. I knew if I packed her suitcase like I would normally pack my own, she would either lose some items or all the contents in the suitcase would be tossed all over the hotel bed and/or floor in an attempt to find one particular item. So to save her some grief (and myself as well) and allow her to actually enjoy herself, instead of spending a lot of time daydreaming and energy searching for necessary items, I packed her suitcase in the order in which she would use each item on each day.

I figured she would possibly go swimming once the youth group arrived at the hotel, so I gathered her beach towel and rolled up every item she would need to go swimming; swim cap, swimsuit, flip flops, goggles, ear plugs). These items were packed on the very top so it would be easy to find. For bedtime, I rolled up each pair of pajamas separately. I asked her to pick the order she would wear each pair of pajamas and clothes. One set of pajamas was directly under the swim items since I knew that no other activities involving changing clothes would happen until bedtime.
Further, I gathered a set of clothes for each day and rolled up the necessary items inside the clothes; underwear, socks, shoes, pajamas, etc. For toiletry items such as soap, lotion, hair accessories, etc., I put all of these items in a large ziplock bag for easy access and a clear view of everything in the bag. I also packed a large trash bag so she could to separate the dirty clothes from the clean clothes. I already knew that If she didn’t have the trash bag, all of her clothes would have been crammed inside her suitcase along with any extra clean clothes.

I am happy to report that my daughter did not forget nor lose one single item while at the youth retreat. She was so proud of herself (and so was I). I give credit to my daughter for implementing the system I used to pack her suitcase.

Hopefully, if you or a family member is easily distracted or loses things quite often, this packing system will work for you. Give it a try the next time you need to pack for a trip. You could possibly try this packing system on an ADHD / ADD adult. Leave a message below letting me know if using this system might help make your life easier while you are traveling.

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