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Flying with kids: 4 tips for parenting while flying with toddlers

Flying with kids is simple says our veteran of 36 flights with her two-year-old: Her for 4 tips for parenting while flying with toddlers revolve around the basic assumption that it's not about you, it's all about the kid.

By Correspondent / January 15, 2013

Flying with kids can be a chore – lugging around that stroller, diaper bag and Pack 'n Play in addition to wheeling your suitcase. Our veteran of 36 flights with her first-born says it's possible ... really. Here, a toddler explores a plane installed at a school playground near Tbilisi, Georgia. 2011.

Associated Press


We have a big plane ride home today. Today – unless something changes and I decide to fly while being even more pregnant, which I promise is nearly impossible  ­– marks the end of an era for our little family: The final journey of Baby M as Lap Child.

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is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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In other words, next time we’re going to actually have to pay for the little squirt to fly with us. She’s soon to be that age (2) where most airlines simply won’t buy the “she’s going to sit on my lap, really she will” rhetoric. 

Prompted by this upcoming milestone, Husband and I decided to try to count up the number of airplane rides that our little freeloading jetsetter has flown. We got to 36, and then got tired of thinking. See, when you fly that much with a toddler, you don’t have much energy for anything else.

Still, spending that much time in the air has made Baby M an awesome traveler.

She helpfully points out to the flight attendants which cabin bathroom has the changing table. She’s happy to sit during takeoff and landing, as long as she has a window seat. She knows that the moving walkways at Baltimore-Washington International are way cooler than the ones at, say, Manchester Boston Regional Airport, and has no qualms about telling other people at the gate that they are about to go on an airplane, fast fast, and that we will soon go up-down, up-down. 

She also knows that if she holds out, and threatens to create just enough of a fuss, her parents will let her eat salty pretzels and cheese crackers and ice from their sodas and anything-else-just-please-stop-trying-to-get-down-no-you-cannot-run-in-the-aisle.

This many flights with child has also made us better traveling parents. And because of this ­– and because I am a bit overwhelmed today with nostalgia and the uncomfortable recognition that traveling will soon cost much more – I thought I would share a sampling of the many lessons we’ve learned. You know, as a public service for the other new parents who suddenly find themselves checking in for a weekend flight (oh, those days of carry-ons are way gone) with two suitcases, a Pack 'n Play, a stroller, a car seat, a diaper bag, a crying child, and a dawning sense that this will not be the same as it used to be. Not even close.


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