Traveling with children
Traveling with young children can be very tricky. You will be surprised to notice how much care your little bundle of joy (your baby) needs. Parents are always anxious to travel with kids, especially infants and toddlers for a long air travel or drive. Whether you are flying with young kids or toddlers you have to be prepared. Remember that each long drive, in-country flights and train journey will be a new experience. Every time it's a new challenge. Here are some tips for travelling with kids. This article is specifically useful for anxious moms and dads of children less than 3 years of age.
You cannot reason with toddlers
You can reason with older kids but not with young babies. You can try and explain the situation to older kids by talking in your native language or through signs. With babies, that option is ruled out.
Excitement of travel
Older kids are usually excited by the idea of visiting new places and people, and the idea of air travel is also fascinating for them. You cannot expect the same from a 4 month old baby!! The baby will not know what is happening, or why there is turbulence, or why some take-offs and landings are more jerky than others.
Avoid actions that cause discomfort
Remember that if babies want something, they want it and want it NOW!!! They will respond to the change in their environment in the only way they know. They cannot talk or walk. They can cry to express discomfort. This can be really tough on the parents. Try to keep your baby as comfortable as possible. Notice the behavior patterns that cause crying.
Don't ration the supplies. You don't want to run out of diapers or wipes during an air travel. Keep many varieties of baby food; do not depend on the airlines. Some airlines provide good baby food while others provide nothing at all.
Take toys - lots of them! Younger kids get bored by a limited selection pretty soon, since their attention span is so little. The toys can be small- to fit in your carry on luggage- rattles, small blocks that fit in each other. If you are really pressed for space, you can use utility things like spoons, keys, comb, etc. Be careful to not give sharp objects. Remember that the things which are usually a 'no-no' for kids at home will generate excitement, and more importantly, keep them occupied!
Mirror and sling
Take a mirror with you. Buy a sling - it is a worthy investment. Kids, who may rebel against strollers, find riding on the back very appealing. My husband carried our son on the sling in the 'maid of mist' boat ride right into the Niagara Falls!! Any toddler would have been afraid of the thunderous noise and mega gallons of water overhead - but he felt so secure attached to his daddy that he actually enjoyed it all -including getting all wet!!
During landing/take off
Offer the child a pacifier, bottle or hold him close to you when the plane is taking off or landing. This really works wonders for kids who tend to feel queasy during landing and take off. Avoid blocking the baby's ears with your hands/cotton. Babies find that irritating - and you don't want a irritated baby!!
Talk, Tell and Sing
If your child is old enough - talk to them about the trip. Sing songs about airplanes or traffic lights. A mother is the best friend of a baby. There is no better toy than you! Here's an
Green means Go
Red means wait
Yellow means look
even if you're late!!
Never ignore your child
Give them lots of attention. They bask in your attention. The environment and people are new to them - your love and care would soothe them BEFORE they get rattled. On a long drive, take notes of rest areas you'll find on the way. Make the most of them. Take as many breaks as required to keep your child happy, and add that to your travel time.
Choose your seat in advance
When you reach the airport-ticketing counter, ask the desk clerk for a convenient seat. You might want to reach a little early to get a seat of your choice. You can also do this when you check-in online. You should usually book seats with bassinets. Airline authorities are usually helpful if you are travelling with toddlers.
Relax! Don't get all worked up-almost everybody who has 'been there' has confessed that preparation of the trip is much tougher than the trip itself. However being aware helps you to make informed decisions. Travelling with toddlers can be a little challenging but not entirely impossible. Believe in your child and yourself.