by Sinea Pies
Remember the classic western television show “Have Gun, Will Travel”? That guy was ready to go on a moment's notice. Similarly, today’s moms and grandmas have to be prepared – prepared for anything! “Have Bag, Will Travel!” We are a traveling, over-scheduled society that demands living out of a car, or a bag and, most of the time, both. From birth on, there is a need for some kind of take-along device in which to pack and bring our stuff.
What should be in those bags, anyway? Your family’s personal needs may vary based on your family's needs and, according to the stage of life of your family, you may have anywhere from one to five or more bags to pack for any given day. During the holiday season (and really all year long) if you are traveling even a day's journey from home, it's best to remember to pack up the essentials before you head out. Here are some helpful tips for your daily routine and what to carry with you to make your travels easier:
You will carry a diaper bag with you until your child is 24-36 months old. After that, it becomes a “Preschooler Bag.” Include diapers, diaper wipes, baby lotion, changing pad, bibs, burp cloths, bottle with formula, mother’s milk or juice, for tots some snacks and/or jarred baby food, pacifier, comfort toy, set(s) of clean clothes, extra onesies, blanket (in cool weather), hat, and trash bags for dirty diapers.
Preschoolers need provisions too; preschool parents know that! A child may be potty trained but accidents do happen. In fact, that can even be true into Kindergarten. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but something to be prepared for!
Whether your child is attending preschool or simply going places such as the mall, a weekend or holiday visit to grandma’s or Sunday school, your preschooler's needs can most easily be met by bringing a bag. Send them with a change of clothes, change of shoes, snacks, water bottle or juice box, pull-ups and/or extra underwear, toy(s), jacket, and stroller (won’t fit in a bag but you may need one!). In warm weather, your child may go to preschool wearing sandals but that’s not safe on the playground so send a pair of sneakers. For full day preschoolers, remember to include their blanket, pillow and stuffed animal for naptime.
These bags can be a hybrid of a diaper or preschooler bag AND a purse. In addition to items that meet your children’s needs, like extra keep-‘em-busy toys , it will also include medication, cell phone and charger, snacks and a water bottle for YOU, hand sanitizer, hand mirror, brush or comb, tissues, makeup, umbrella, needle & thread for quick repairs and your keys.
Make sure that your phone has important emergency phone numbers on speed dial. If your schedule includes a lot of waiting for children to get out of school, sports or lessons, bring a book, electronic device, notebook and pen so that you can get something done while you’re waiting.
Book Bags/Back Packs
School age children should use their bag to haul textbooks, notebooks, pens and pencils, calculator and assignment notepad to and from school. A homework folder should be enclosed with their homework assignments inside to keep them in good shape before they are handed in at school. There may be a journal or communication folder provided by the teacher. If so, make sure that is in there, too.
The Thanksgiving Holiday might mean a break from school but it doesn't necessarily mean a break from schoolwork. If you're traveling make sure your kids bring along any assignments to complete during the trip. Bringing along their book bag on the car ride to grandma's house could be a good way to keep them in the “school groove.”
First Aid Kit
Keep this “bag” in the car. Fill it with band aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, EPI pen for those with severe allergies, digital thermometer, child strength liquid Tylenol and Benadryl, measuring spoon, and an ice pack. It's also a good idea to keep extra blankets, a couple of snacks, and bottled water in the car during cold months.
Preparation takes the “crazies” out of a packed daily family schedule and can help you reduce of your stress during the holiday season. So, get your bags loaded up and be sure to put them in the car before you go!
Sinea Pies is a native of Rochester and contributing writer to the Genesee Valley Parent Magazine. As a freelance writer, she writes about parent & family, organizing, cleaning, cooking, faith, food and dogs on her website Ducks ‘n a Row. www.ducksnarow.com