My middle son is off on cub camp tomorrow. This will be the first time that he has spent a night away from family, and it's actually two nights! He has a kit list and I decided that we would pack yesterday so that, if we found we were short of anything, we had time to get to the shops. Also, I had to iron name labels onto everything and I wanted plenty of time!
He read the list and fetched what was on it and I ironed the labels and packed. He spent his time practising, with increasing frustration, wrestling his sleeping bag back into its case so that he could do it without help. Once the bag was packed, I remembered a conversation with a friend who had led a school ski-trip. Some children, he told me, had no idea what was is in their case, their mother had just packed it for them. This, I resolved, was not going to be my son. I could also envisage him turfing all the neatly folded contents on the floor of the tent as he looked for one thing.
So, out it all came again. He double-checked each item on the list, decided what he might not need at all (raincoat - it is an excellent forecast) and what he might need straight away on Friday night (warm jumper, PJs) and packed it back in some kind of order: little things in the pockets, immediate needs at the top.
I know that any parent could do the same, but for me it is about being there, spotting the teachable moments and hopping right on. Another lesson learned to prepare him for his round-the-world-trip in a camper van!