When my son had his first overnight at a friend’s house, the phone rang at 10 pm.
"Mom? I forgot my inhaler".
"No problem", I told him, "I’ll run it over".
Good thing he was right next door :)
So I hop over to the neighbors where I’m greeted at the door by two very awake boys.
"He also forgot his toothpaste," announced his friend, "so I let him borrow mine".
I thought things might be a little more organized with my daughter since she was older at her first sleep-over. But when I got there to bring her home the next morning, I could tell a few things hadn’t gotten into her overnight bag.
"Any chance you packed a brush?"
"Nope. But I remembered my toothbrush!" (score 1 for no cavities after cake & ice cream) – one of the other girls had forgotten hers and it looked like two others had also forgotten their hairbrush :)
Packing for a night away from home is something all kids need help with the first few times – it’s a life skill that will serve them well as they grow up and once they become more proficient packers, it’s a lot easier to get everyone ready for family vacations too.
But remembering what to bring can be difficult – especially when you’re excited to get to a sleep-over or head over the Grandma’s for the night (where I’m sure the kids will get spoiled just a little ;)
Today we’re sharing the skills needed to successfully pack a bathroom bag along with some free printables the kids can use as they get ready for their next sleep-over.
What Kids Should Pack for a Sleep-over
Packing for an overnight stay is a skill that kids ages 5 on up through the teen years should master (so Mom and Dad won’t have to make a second trip back to the party – or worse yet, have to run out and buy unnecessary items when you’re on vacation).
Choosing a Bathroom Bag
The first item you’ll need is a bathroom bag!
Sometimes kids will want to choose their own but be sure to talk through the options -- the bag with a favorite tv character may not be one they want to use as they get older and might not be the most practical choice.
My big push when teaching kids how to pack a bathroom bag is make sure your toothbrush/toothpaste and liquid medicines are NOT in the same compartment with your brush/comb and hair ties!
Toothpaste on your brush means a sticky hair mess!
This is why we prefer a bathroom bag that have at least 2 sections:
- one section can include a brush/comb, any hair accessories and ‘dry’ medications (such as an inhaler if your kids have asthma);
- the second section would hold a toothbrush, toothpaste, any liquid medications and deodorant (if you’re kids are old enough to need it).
We've tried using the pouch bags that sit on the counter and also the bags that include a hook so your kids can either hang it up or place it on the counter.
We really like the bathroom bags with the hook -- it’s nice to have an option to hand them up in case there’s not much counter space. On more than one occasion, our kids have needed to hang their item on a towel bar because there was no counter space and they were really glad they had the hook!
Items to Pack for an Overnight
Before they are ready to head out for their sleep-over (or if we are going on vacation), I ask our kids to lay everything out on the bathroom counter. The best way to do this is to say "pretend you are getting ready in the morning & then again before bed; which items do you use each time?" -- those are the things that should be lined up on the counter.
As someone who has travelled a lot, this is one of the "tricks of the trade" so to speak.
This gives kids the responsibility to figure out what they need without me detailing every item.
So the NIGHT BEFORE the sleep-over, as they are doing their nighttime bathroom routine, I ask our kids to place everything they use on the counter. Once they brush their teeth, put the toothpaste and toothbrush on the counter. If they take medicine in the evening, take it and then put it on the counter.
I have them do this for each item and then they’ll have a visual of what things should be packed in their overnight bag.
As you can see, my daughter thinks a sleep mask is a must-have item ;)
And yet, no hair brush is laid out (hmmm...)
Which is why I give it a quick once-over after they have everything laid out.
And remember to reinforce the idea that whatever you take out of your bag while you're visiting, be sure to put back IN your bag right away!
Otherwise, you might be calling a friend to see if you leftyour toothpaste behind :)
Free Overnight Packing Lists
It's always nice to have a packing list on hand so we've created one for younger kids and another for tweens & teens to use.
For younger kids, their bag might include:
- Brush or comb
- Toothpaste – the kids love the taste of the Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry™ Fluoride Toothpaste and I like that it's a natural item with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives! It's the first toothpaste we used once the kids were old enough to brush.
I've also listed a few other items along with an open spot so you can fill in your own. Print your list for young kids and keep it on hand!
We also have a free printable list for tweens & teens, the list is usually a little longer for them!
Still includes some of the core items we all need:
- Dental floss -- for those popcorn kernels that they are sure to eat during sleep-overs ;) And if you have kids with braces, try these AWESOME Floss picks for braces!
- Deodorant -- so many kids forget this! Another excellent Tom's of Maine personal care item -- I've used their Unisex Long Lasting Deodorant for years and because it's a natural item (again, no artificial fragrances or preservatives!), it's what I buy for the kids when they began to use deodorant. It's especially great because my kids have sensitive skin so we really need a natural product that won't case any rash.
Plus some of the extras that older kids like to have on an overnight. If your daughter is old enough to need personal items, be sure to get those on the list (otherwise, that could be "the most embarrassing moment of her life" :)
And I would have put those on the list but then if you need to print the list for boys, THEY would get all embarrassed just seeing the words 'personal items'!
Sometimes you just can't win as a parent, right? :)
Do you have any funny stories from your kids' first sleep-overs or favorite overnight items?
More Life Skill Ideas for Kids:
This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always, all opinions & ideas are mine alone. #NaturalGoodness