Going places with children can be physically and mentally demanding, and sometimes draining. Flying with little kids, specifically toddlers is definitely a challenge. Even the most well-behaved children still get stressed out. They tend to keep whining when bored, cry, and can't be pacified, and sometimes, has the urge of running around or worse kicking the seat in their front, disturbing other people. To add to that, the stress gets higher as you realize that you are surrounded by strangers and can't just run away from your little one.
Worry no more! We have compiled a few tips and tricks, both based on research as well as our personal experiences with regard to travelling "stress-free" with a child, or if you can't believe completely eliminating the stress, then at least consider these tips to at the very least, help you reduce worries with your kid.
Tips for a Stress-Free Travel With Your Child.
Whenever a kid is having tantrums on a plane or while traveling in general, you only have few choices. Its either you distract him or her, with whatever you can, and would usually mean toys, electronics or hungry for food. Nevertheless, there are also couple of ways to prepare and be able to alleviate or lessen the difficulties that you can expect to encounter even before they get on board.
Below are a few of our tips and tricks guaranteed in making our travel with our child less stressful:
1. Allow your child move around, play to lessen their energy or any mental/emotional strain before going on board.
When convenient, before even going on board, let your kid play, talk, move around. Toddlers are little balls of energy and has the need to move, they cannot comprehend why they have to stay belted in the seat on an airplane. Getting there earlier than the schedule, enough that the kids get to run and play around the airport (which usually have big spaces, just be sure to keep them on your sight to avoid problems.) before they are forced to sit still on the plane.
Then, once on the flight, whenever the aisle is clear and you are allowed to move around (seat belt sign off), you can get up and let your kid walk. It is suggested to try it even before your child asks you to, so she won't insist to move around when the "fasten seat belt" sign has been turned on.
2. Divert and Amuse.
A toddler's main objective is to explore the world around them. If they can't go walk around exploring, you can definitely expect other passengers near you to be disturbed by the bored kid. Try to bring headphones and of course an iPad with apps, or a laptop with movies and games loaded. This is where you make sure that even before the flight, you have all the kid's apps, games and other distractions already downloaded and prepared. While electronic devices are a great way to keep your child entertained, they usually wouldn't be enough and would eventually get bored.
We sometimes pack a 3-5 of her small toys or 'surprises' . No need to use them all, but for any delays at the airport, they will be very useful. Books are nice, just make sure they have "activities." They are also fond of school supplies like scotch tape, glue or colorful paper and clips or any safe household objects. Honestly, any thing (as long as safe for toddlers can be a toy) the trick here is to use your imagination to keep them busy and amused. These distractions, may be simple but are definitely worth it.
As you can see on the photos below, the kids are amused. If you would look closely to the dinner photo on the right, the reason why we are able to eat our dinner in peace is because baby is amused watching a video - Brainy Baby prepared and saved on our phones of course we also bought a mini gorilla tripod to mount the phone so the little guy can watch and keep amused anywhere!
3. Make sure your child is fed and hydrated.
This makes them less likely to get cranky. Not all airlines and have food that your child will eat, and surely it won't be served on your child's timetable, this is why it is better to also bring the usual snacks and make sure you bring a bit more than what you think you need. Feeding or nursing the kid is also great, specifically on takeoff and landing, as the sucking helps relieve the pressure in their ears.
You can also consider bringing some special treats that your child usually don't get, such as stick of gum or a lollipop (great for takeoff and landing too). Just don't forget to supervise them if you gave them lollipop or gum to avoid any hazard.
4. Keep your child calm.
Travelling is no doubt, stressful even for experienced adults; your child is most likely tired and over-energized. There are different things to try and help her de-stress and take a nap. Assure your child, their connection with you will help your child feel secure and ease up. Some even cuddle up inside a blanket with their kids to shut out the outside world while you let her prepare to sleep.
A warm glass of milk can definitely help the child calm and ready to rest. Singing them a lullaby can help them calm down. Also, telling them stories can capture their attention by a make-up story, or remembering family memories. Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT is a simple technique of tapping your baby's acupressure points. In other words, massage.
5. Chill....and Calm Yourself!
One must remember that children also picks up on your stress; In other words, if you are stressed out and ill tempered, that's probably one of the reasons they act out while traveling. Staying calm and relaxed is the very important and as a result can help to keep your child calm. We use breathing and EFT (a type of breathing technique that excercises, calms and removes anxiety. While some people use aroma therapy to keep them calm. If it means having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer to help you to keep that smile sweetly at the passengers who is probably looking annoyed at unruly kids.
Sometimes, partners forget about themselves as there is too many to think and worry about because of their children. So as we always say it, never forget to date your husband/wife. Even after a tiring day out going places, couples should consider allotting a little time for themselves. Almost always, going out / sneaking out for a quick date has a positive effect on your morale and relationship as a whole.
Note: If planning to sneak out on a date at night while the children are sleeping, make sure that there will be a responsible guardian or relative to look after the sleeping kids for their own safety.
The first photo below shows a couple, after a long day of parent duties, soon as the kids slept, had a quick date at a popular pizza parlor in the area, and of course, beer!
6. Make your presence known to your neighbors
Right at the beginning of the flight, introduce and maybe apologize in advance, and tell them you'll do your best to keep your child pacified and to please let you know if they are being bothered by your kids. Most people are compassionate, especially if they know that you also respect their right to a peaceful flight and are doing all you can to assure it.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope you have picked up our tips and maybe a few tricks about travelling with kids. We always learn something new everyday, and we also welcome any new suggestions, tips on how to successfully pull-off a good travel vacation with the children and dealing with different obstacles.
Please don't hesitate to let us know below at the comments section, and we would definitely appreciate any inputs from our guests/readers.
Safe and fun travels, everyone!
Mr & Mrs Wanderlust
All photos are of our own property taken by us. // All the content are written by us and is based on our own personal experiences guided by tips from books and child experts that specializes in dealing with kids while travelling, and make everything enjoyable.
Dr. Laura Markham's Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.
Baby Center - www,babycenter.com
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