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.
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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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1. Give up hope. Those days of catching up on your magazines or pleasure reading in the air? Over. Done. Your airplane ride will not be spent reading or sleeping or working, or even making conversation with that chatty person in 16B. No, those sky hours will be consumed by the child. She will devour them. Meanwhile, you will struggle to stay one step and activity idea ahead as you wonder why this flight is taking so darn long. This all is much easier if you just assume the flight is lost time. And eventually, you might find that you and toddler actually enjoy the rides together
2. Plan. You must have snacks, diapers, and water, and ideally another set of clothing. Maybe this is obvious for most other parents, but I’ve ended up with an angry, hungry, naked child by the end of at least one flight. It’s OK, she survived. But it’s better if you bring the gear. Along with an arsenal of activities more interesting than the in-flight magazine – anything from books to crayons to Post-it notes (awesome).
3. Let the child move when she can move. This goes along with No. 1. While waiting for your plane, you will not read or browse the duty free shop’s cosmetic section or sit for an overpriced meal in an airport restaurant. And since these options are gone, you might as well walk around with your kid. (Assuming he’s walking.) Up and down a terminal hallway, on the moving walkway again and again and again, up and down the escalator. It’s mind numbing. We know. And you also have to keep close attention to make sure they stay safe with all those moving floors and rolling bags and rushing people. But best to let them get some energy out while it’s possible.
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4. This is less of a tip than a life lesson. The next time you travel without your toddler, you will be amazed at how easy it is. Four hours stuck on the runway? Whatev. Once you’ve done that on a completely full plane with a child on your lap (been there), you realize that if you’re on your own there’s really no problem. Take a snooze. Passport control seems long? Relax. Once you’ve squished into a developing world airport’s custom control room with a jet-lagged baby attached to your front, you realize that doing the same on your own is cake. Parenting can be all about new perspectives.
So take those for what they’re worth. And I’ll be back with tips for dealing with two babies on a plane sometime in the next decade. Maybe. Because, frankly, that thought makes me terrified.