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We are a family no one on a plane wants to sit beside - parents of 3 kids aged 5 and under who are cute but come with noise potential. The airline staff smile sweetly as we board, the passengers however look at us terrified, imploring that we continue down the aisle and sit NOWHERE near them.
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There are some things you will not be able to avoid – the
unforeseen circumstances. Here’s a
little flavour of what I have encountered:
You can have a plan to make your trip as pain-free as
possible. Here are some tips for
travelling with your small kids.
Documentation & Luggage
Keep your passports, boarding passes and any relevant
documentation as accessible as possible.
Say goodbye to fashion for a trip and invest in a fanny pack. It’s ideal.
The world and its wife are going to want to see your various papers over
and over again. Make life easy for
We recently flew from Dublin via Toronto and back to
Edmonton. As Toronto was our first point
of entry back into Canada, we needed to collect our baggage and move them to
the transfer section. Not what you need
when you have three small kids. The
luggage carts are small and if you have too many bags and kids and not enough
hands, invest in a porter, you will pay a few dollars for this service but you
have to consider the stress it is taking away from you. Not only that but also the kids can sit on
top of the luggage and an adventure can be had.
Change of clothes for EVERYONE!
I implore and beg you to ensure that you pack a change of
clothes for everyone in your carry-on luggage.
Why? I learned the hard way. In
2012 myself, my husband and my then 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son flew
to Ireland via Chicago. I was also 6
months pregnant. The first leg of our
journey went well. We had a few hours in
Chicago airport to kill and so we went to a food court and grabbed a bite to
eat. Jamie was sitting on what was left
of my lap, my belly was expanding by the day.
He turned green rapidly and projectile vomited over himself and me. I had packed a change of clothes for the kids
but not me or my hubby. Yikes. Factor in the fact that you don’t generally
see maternity shops in an Airport.
Luckily I had layered my clothes, so I was able to wash out the parts
that he had hit and I was presentable again.
We are just back from another trip home.
This time I was prepared for anything.
My kids are ALWAYS sick and my three year old Jamie was just recovering
from a “viral” infection before we departed Edmonton for Dublin. We are in Edmonton Airport and located a
little kids play area – score. Kids are
happily playing with each other. I am
smiling looking at them. Suddenly, Jamie’s
facial expression changes. He runs
toward me and vomits……on the carpeted floor!!
Score again, it wasn’t on him or me!
I got some products from the Janitor and did my best to clean it
up. Moral of the story, don’t leave
home without a change of clothes or two.
Even if you are going on a short car journey!
Keep them busy
This is another key ingredient to a fruitful fun experience
whilst travelling. Bring lots. I took a portable DVD player with lots of
DVD’s, the kids' Leap Pads, colouring books and markers, sticker books, reading
books, educational cards. Kids need
variety. “I want X” quickly changes to
“I want Y” and when you are travelling you give them what they want and when
they want it so that you get through the journey and live to tell the
tale. You can also buy mini size
travelling games to keep them occupied.
An etch-a-sketch for the artist in the family should prove
invaluable. I found that entertaining my
5 and 3 year old was okay, the just turned 2 year old was harder. They really don’t want to sit and have a
short attention span. When my little guy
starts to get irritated I sang songs and rhymes to him and got him to repeat
small words and family names after me.
We both enjoyed the one-on-one time.
sprinkle of imagination
When you think about it a plane ride is very magical. You are leaving your home and travelling way
up in the sky over the clouds to another country. Use this to your advantage and if you have a
window seat, open the shutter and make up a story or two or just talk about
what the shapes you see in the clouds look like. This can prove quiet entertaining.
Food glorious food - Lots of Snacks!
Let’s be honest plane food isn’t exactly fine dining on wheels. I got a chicken wrap with a best before date
far into the future which proved very unsettling to both my stomach and mind. Kids call a spade and are way fussier than us adults! A “No” is definitely a “No”.
They will probably not eat the food they are given on the plane. Therefore plan ahead by bringing lots of
their favourite snacks. I packed
rice-cakes, crackers, cheese products, fruits, raisins, lollipops to name but a
few. Think about your kid's and pack
accordingly. If they are anything like
mine they are ALWAYS hungry.
Freedom & Movement - What a combination!
Kids love to move and are not too hot on confinement so
travelling on a plane is a big challenge.
Taking a walk up and down the aisle is fairly do-able on an
international flight, however, a domestic flight can prove difficult as there
is only one aisle and a cart to block your path. However, even if you can walk a few feet with
your hyper toddler it’s better than nothing.
Sweet sensational slumber
The key to a successful journey is sleep. Sleep for the parents would also be nice but
realistically we can forego sleep in favour of our children. On our recent trip back home all three of our
kids slept well. We didn’t sleep so on
arrival back in Dublin our eyes stung with tiredness and our kids bounced
around excitedly. I think it is child
dependent as to whether they will get shut eye on the plane. I think luck also factors into how successful you will be. This time around we had the luck of the Irish.
Take advantage of any vacant spaces
On three out of our four flights fellow passengers were very
accommodating and moved seats if there was an alternative available. Wouldn't you happily move away from potential tantrums? Our youngest was under 2 years so he was sitting on
our laps. He likes his food and is built like a tank. When fellow passengers moved for us, this proved to be fantastic and gave us more room to spread our little family and saved us getting dead leg with "The Tank".
You will meet good and bad people on a plane journey. We were lucky enough to go on a week-long
trip to Mexico. On our return
journey, Ryan, our youngest was very upset, it later transpired that he had
contracted an ear infection. A girl
sitting in front of us turned around and through the gap between the two chairs
said in a sour tone “your kids our kicking our chairs”. I am the first to admit when my kids are
doing something wrong and to apologize for any bad behaviour but they were in
fact not kicking anyone’s chairs, they were behaving excellently for a then 4 and 2 year old. I really had to bite
my tongue when just a few minutes later her boyfriend was dancing in his chair
in front of me and causing my tray to rattle.
I had to be the adult.
On a previous trip back home to Ireland we met an Irish lady
with her three small kids whom were immigrating to Canada. Her husband was waiting anxiously for his family to start a new life in Canada. She caught my eye as I totally admired her for doing that trip by herself with her little ones. They have subsequently become dear friends
and it is because of this friendship that I am now blogging with ChatterBlock. My friend saw a link looking for bloggers and the rest as they say is history. My point you never know what can happen on a
And as always let me end my blog by saying,
Never a dull moment in this house
& additionally happy & safe travelling.
I really like these tips. I am also a mother of 3 and living in Halifax with a husband who's family all lives in Montreal, travelling was a nightmare. Watching my kids slumped over in their car seats for multiple hours broke my heart. After 3 years in the making i came up with Amiba's, a childrens stuffed monster headrest. Kids love them because they are soft and colorful and parents love that they actually work to hold their children up comfortably in their car seats (they also double as breast feeding pillows) Check out our website www.amiba.ca, facebook page www.facebook.com/amibamonsters or come and pick one up at the Halifax seaport market saturdays from 7-3.
Posted by Nadine H on Feb 20 '15, 5:14 p.m. |
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