Have Kids. Will Travel.
A few years ago we had a measly 3.5 hour flight to take a then 1.5 year old Ben on and I stressed. I researched and researched how to survive traveling with young kids, I packed special presents and treats that I carefully selected. I was nervous about all the ‘what if’s and didn’t want to be that family on the plane with the crazy crying child.
Turns out the boy had a 2 hour nap cuddled up on me and then played with one of the many toys that I had brought. It went way better than I expected and I wish I hadn’t given so much effort to worrying that it would be a miserable experience.
This was our first flight and my carry on bag was carefully packed with special treats,toys and books. I was over prepared and put too much worry into how it would go.
Traveling with your children is definitely one of those parenting milestones and it feels so good when you get through it successfully. I have a couple of girlfriends who have amazing stories of traveling with their kids, including airplane rides that last over a day and include a tiny infant and toddler. In comparison our trips were nothing like their marathon flight with kids in tow.
In a few days we’re going on an airplane and this time each kid gets their own seat. Last year we did over 8 flights with Josie on my lap and I’ll be glad for the extra space. I’m not putting any stress or worry into flying with my kids and am just going to roll with it and try to be low key. In general, my kids are pretty well behaved but they can get a big naughty when they are tired, hungry or overwhelmed. They can also easily be bribed with lollipops and I’m totally okay whipping out a special airplane lolly on the flight as needed.
Through my own experience, talking with friends and reading all your blogs, I’ve come to realize a few things about flying with kids.
- There will always be someone who is unhappy to see your brood board the flight. They will be obvious as you will either hear them sigh as you walk by or you’ll see them stare/glare in the direction of your child. Don’t worry about them.
- There will also be someone who is equally happy to see a smiley family, especially if your kids are looking cute and/or there is a baby in your arms. The amount of times older ladies asked if they could help me out by holding Josie was seriously awesome. Especially the time I was sandwiched in between two different dudes with Josie on my lap while my husband and Ben sat 10 rows back. Baby loves unite!
- Your kids will seriously enjoy the 1:1 attention you give them from all the family togetherness in tight quarters. Pre kids I used to love buying a stash of magazines at the airport and flipping through each page in between naps, but times have changed and that’s okay. Now there is endless games of tic tac toe, colouring pictures together and acting like I’m super interested in everything. What’s that, you need a lollipop?
- I don’t have many rules about electronic devices while on the airplane. In fact, I make sure they are super charged before we take off and that they have a few new games or favourite TV shows on them. While we normally like to have some time limits on iPads and iPhone use, airplane travel is not a daily routine and so we switch things up. A movie will be watched for sure.
- If you’ve tried your hardest and things still fall apart just remember that you will never see these people again. This is advice from a well travelled mama friend of mine who has done many international flights with her active family. Even the best kid can have a hard time so don’t be to hard on yourself.
On that note, I’ve got to start ticking off my ‘to do’ list and embracing the fact that I am officially on holidays. I’ve also got to remember to go and buy some lollipops. What works for you when you travel with your kids?