In the end, kids won’t remember fancy toys or game you bought for them, they will remember the time you spent with them – Kevin Heath
No matter how much you love your kids, traveling with kids can leave you frustrated. Long flights with barely-enough legroom, a crying infant and a whining toddler, can swiftly turn into a nightmarish experience. Add a lengthy layover and you have a complete meltdown in the works. But there are ways to make this experience less miserable.
It is always better to book trips to coincide with your kids’ sleeping times. Utilize your child’s circadian rhythm to help reduce the overall stress, as your child is naturally inclined to sleep at those hours. Most flights provide a bassinet, but during turbulence, attendants will wake the mother up to carry the child in their arms. It is subsequently better, to recline your chair and sleep with the baby, that way you don’t risk waking the baby up and you can get some shut-eye too. Avoid lengthy layovers that coincide with their sleep times. Instead, walk around the airport with your kids, let them play ceaselessly so they tire out when it’s time for the flight.
Compartmentalize. Be absolutely obsessive in packing your cabin baggage. Do the packing yourself, so you know where everything is. Take your children’s favourite toys or books, extra toiletries, snacks and emergency medicines. Stack items in your bag so they are all visually accessible, do not place items on top of each other as this will require foraging through layers to get what you need. Always pack a smaller handbag containing basic essentials like diapers, wipes, extra sets of clothes, motion sickness syrups, snacks and teething toys. This bag can be stashed under the seat and easily retrieved when needed.
It is always better to travel with someone if you are travelling with kids. You go with an assistant, friend, nanny or your spouse. Before the trip, delegate and allocate tasks. Explain that you will need their help in keeping an eye on the kids, or retrieving baggage or any other tasks you may otherwise be unable to do. If you are traveling alone with older children, it’s easier to distract them with movies, games or books. With smaller children, it becomes trickier. But don’t hesitate to ask for help from the attendants, who can provide indispensable aid; from extra blankets to distracting a toddler.
Tricks of the Trade
There are multiple ways of quietening a baby; the hold (from experience, works like magic), playing music to the child via headphones, or colorful videos. Experiment and learn what works for your child. Stay near boarding gates during layovers, so you don’t have to rush with your children and baggage. Motion sickness can be eliminated by a syrups, or home remedies – placing a pinch of salt on the tongue, sitting with head between the knees and applying pressure on the thumbs.
Don’t be Ashamed
Sometimes, you do everything by the book and your baby keeps wailing through the night, or your 4-year-old spends the entire flight hurling. You’re worried about your child, and you’re worried about bothering your co-passengers. The first step is to attempt to calm yourself, you could plug in headphones and listen to soothing music while rocking your infant. The second step is not to care; so what if your baby is stinking up the entire plane? Or your kid is running up and down the aisles?