Have you been on a plane trip with your young kids by yourself? Or you are looking for tips because that is just coming to you? I wish I could say, just ask the flight attendant to bring a bottle of wine and pretend they are not yours! But here is a list of little things I do with my kiddos (almost 3 and 4,5). (This text received a little update a couple days after the first posting because after a round trip from Houston to Florida I realized I had skipped a couple important notes.
- Have the kids pack their own backpacks with snacks and small toys right before traveling or the night before if catching an early flight. (You may have to help by limiting the quantities. Let's say 6 toys, 2 salty and two sweet snacks - NO liquids!)
- Pack without them seeing your own backpack with a new toy for each. Gift wrap it! It will increase the surprise factor and give you one extra minute on that activity. Add to your bag anything you know they love and can spend sometime with but they did not pick for their bags. Pack at least one change of close for each child and one shirt for you.
- Try to fit all in one bag, doesn't matter how big. If you can't find a cart when you park it will be much easier to pull a bag of 60 pounds (plus the stroller and watch for any lose child) then two of 30 pounds each!
- At Target you can find a miniature toilet disinfectant spray with the travel size cosmetics. It is a MUST have in any mom's purse. Always, whenever and wherever!
- Bring a sippy cup for the plane. That way you can avoid spills, I always wish I had one for me when I get a drink on that little tray and the kid on my left starts picking on the one on my right! Urhrhr! And you can fill it up with bottled water in the plane, so the kids have some water to get hydrated while waiting for your luggage to show up at baggage claim.
- Bring a stroller. Airports can be huge and it is not fair to a small legged creature to be rushed because you missed the alarm clock! You can use the stroller to hang your handbag, carry extra jackets, etc.
- If you have a child that is potty trained or is just finished training, put a pull up! I mean at home before you leave (and bring more). No, they will not regress if they pee in the diaper. But if they pee on their pants you will regret it!
- I do not want to take sides on the tricks of giving medication to calm your child. But if you feel it will be better for the whole airplane that your child has something to help him calm down, try Highlands homeopathic Nerve Tonic. You can take it too or you may feel you are the only one who should take it.
- When you park at the airport take time to right down somewhere you will not lose and will be able to retrieve easily upon returning the color, number, name and description of your parking place. I found out on my way back that the airport had several parking buildings, but which "color" was mine? Hum... !?#$?
- Crocs are the best shoes for plane trips, easy to take off or put on at security check, conftarble enough if for swollen feet. Also easy to wash and dry when apple juice decides to fly! If you don't have them, do Velcro.
- At the airport, be a redneck! Point to things saying: "LOOK! A big red airplane is departing!" Make them feel this is a special and cool place! Take pictures, this will make them feel the trip has already started!
- Make them run, jump and dance at the gate. Make them tired, so they will be more willing to settle during the flight or maybe even nap!
- If it is a longer flight or a large plane, be the last one to board, so neither of you will have to deal with 30 extra minutes inside the plane!
- To relieve ear pressure during take off and landing bring gummy candy (or even gummy Vitamins, like we do) or gum if you have an older child. Sucking on a lolly pop also helps. Make sure you give them right before the plane takes off or starts its descend. If they get "clogged ears" make them yawn by yawning yourself! Yawning is contagious!
- Don't stress about naps! If they nap, great, if they don't, great! Better yet, if taking a short flight, do not book the flight at nap time, unless you have one of those drunk kids that can fall asleep anywhere. I have one! If you start to get frustrated because you want them to nap and they don't want to, they will pick up on your mood and get irritated too. You all may have to rest when you get there or go to bed earlier the first night of the trip. Kids get really excited about flying, specially if they don't do it often. It is a special activity, relax and let them enjoy it!
- Same with food. Let them eat whatever! This is not the time to make your child eat broccoli! Chocolate will make them happier, and you too!
- Bring a fun magazine for you, or garb the airline one. Sudoku or crosswords are also great, but you will need crayons because kids have a syndrome that they can't see adults with a pencil without wanting one!
- If they start asking how long it's gonna take to get to your destiny or how much left... say a month, or a year! Yes! Lie! This is the only way they will ever say: "Wow, it was quick!" If, they ask why you lied you say you were just tricking them! He!
- If they fart, don't say anything! My son did and I stupidly said "Nick, I smell something... what do you say when that happens?" And he, embarrassed of assuming, answered while the guy across from the corridor stared at us - "I didn't do anything mom, I think YOU tooted!"
- If they start fussing to much and being annoying, do whatever you can to keep cool because kids are so sensitive to our emotions. Find the cutest passenger of opposite sex! It may help you smile when you start wishing the windows opened and kids had wings!
- If you like the desperate plane mom, tell the flight attendant you have a connection in 30 minutes and have to change gates, and see if can let you out first!
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