Some of my most precious memories
with my children have been on the beach, or on a ski lift, or in the streets of
a new city we have not yet explored together. But some of my most challenging moments as a parent have been during the
car ride or plane ride getting to those amazing places. Mostly the plane rides.
traveling by car at least you don’t have an audience judging your every
move. When traveling by plane, you know
the other passengers are judging. Of
course they are, because didn’t we all throw some side-eyed glances before we
had kids? And now we wish we could take
them all back, because we understand that traveling with children is an act of
bravery. And the mother of the
child who is crying in seat 5A really wants him to be quiet, too—more than any
other passenger on the plane, in fact.
kids are unpredictable, especially when you try to restrain them with a
seatbelt. So the only thing you can do
is be prepared and hope for the best. Remember, a trip with kids is not a vacation. It’s an adventure, and one that we should all
Here are some tips and reminders I
use when traveling with my boys...
and foremost,don’t be a hero. If you normally don’t let your kids use
iPads, or watch too much TV, or eat so many snacks, etc., this is the time to
throw those rules right out the window. Remember, there is no shame in
using bribery and coercion.
“In America there are two classes of travel: first class, and with children.” –Robert Benchley
for Long Car Rides
Play a game together as a
family.For example, play I spy or The
Alphabet Game in which you all look out the window for each letter of the
alphabet on street signs, storefronts, etc.
Make a playlist of songs that both
you and your kids love.Hint: If you
don’t play kids' CDs in the car, they will never even know they exist. The Beatles work better anyway.
Take pit stops.Research if there is a landmark or a fun
restaurant along the way.
Download new apps on the iPadand
let them have free reign.
Suck up to the flight attendants
and the people around you. Just a smile
and a hello go a long way.
Bring something for them to suck on
to help with ear pressure: a pacifier, a bottle, a straw cup for younger
children and gum for older children.
Once your child is old enough, have her pack a travel backpack full of toys and activities. Make sure you check that bag before TSA
If your child is younger and needs
more attention, have a new surprise for him every 20 minutes so he doesn't get
bored: a new toy, a favorite book or a special snack.
Pack antibacterial wipes, a few
paper towels, and zip-top bags for quick and easy cleanups.
Pack a change of clothes for each
child and a spare T-shirt for yourself so you are armed in case of spills or
Pack their favorite savory
snacks. Avoid sugary snacks if you
can. There are few things worse than a child on a sugar high in a confined space.
And, last but not least,things are not going to go exactly
as planned. Relax. There is a mini-bar
on the other side.