You board the plane with your crew of little ones and see fellow passengers with that look. You know the one. If you could see what they were thinking in a thought bubble overhead, it would read, "Please, please, please...don't sit near me!" We all know the trials of travelling with kids: we do our best not to annoy the others around us, and attempt to avoid an experience where we go semi-insane. Here are some tips to manuver around a mommy meltdown when heading out of town with the little ones.
-- Bring a change of clothes (for everyone). Spills. Potty accidents. They happen. Having your four-year-old sit in apple-juice soaked pants for the remainder of a three-hour flight is just not good. Be prepared with changes of pants, shirts and undies for the kids...and don't forget the socks.
-- Be prepared. One time, I was flying and saw a mom with a little guy who was just not behaving that great...it might have been because he didn't have anything to do except sit there. That's tough for anyone of any age (I offered her some extra sheets of paper and stickers and a few crayons -- us moms have to stick together). Have plenty of activities for your kiddos: movies and apps are great on that iPad, crayons, paper, small tubs of playdoh, One tip: avoid toys that are really small or with lots or parts. Really. Imagine trying to get on your hands and knees on an airplane. It isn't fun, trust me. Been there, done that.
-- Have food. The choices on the plane may be slim pickings in terms of having things your kids will like. Have enough in pre-portioned snack bags to keep them well fed.
-- Don't underestimate the "new" factor. Kids love most anything that is new. A new movie on the iPad will go over like gangbusters, and a new coloring book or fresh pack of crayons or a new type of snack...all good things.
-- Be comfortable. Especially if you are in the car or on a super-long flight, leave the tights and itchy sweater dress at home. Comfy leggings, sweatpants and so on will keep smiles on their faces...and toss in an extra layer or sweater in case the plane is cold. Same goes for you: wear your favorite pair jeans and that sassy sweater coat and avoid dangling earrings.
What is your best and worst travel experience with your kids?