Top 5 Tips for the Nervous Traveling Parent
Most trips don’t last longer than a day. Are you really going to miss out boating on Lago Maggiore or going up Tokyo Tower because of one day of flying? Despite the fear, we have all heard that statistically speaking flying is quite safe, so it is important to remind yourself of this. I often tell myself that this flight flew yesterday, last week and 3 months ago when I wasn’t even thinking of flying and they were fine. This is just another routine flight.
2. Mindfulness and Prayer
Ah, there is nothing that brings me closer to prayer than being in a plane especially when there is a bit of turbulence. I pray before the start of each flight and then work hard to enjoy every moment. This is where mindfulness comes in. I enjoy chatting and playing with my children. In fact, I loved flying when my kids were babies because it gave me a routine and something to do on the flight. It was fantastic- never a dull moment. I was much too busy or too tired to stress. Now that my children are older I have had to refocus on enjoying the flight as much as possible.
Nothing calms stress like feeling as if you have packed properly for the occasion (for Packing tips click here). When my kids were younger I always focused on the food, medicinal, and entertainment needs of the kids. Packing a book or magazine for myself when the kids were little was a bit too hopeful and I never bothered as it just wasn’t realistic. Now that my youngest is 6, I have started bringing lighthearted books and magazines which leads me to my next topic.
See the humor in everything. Watch funny movies or sitcoms.
Stressed that your little one might throw up? Prepare by packing travel tablets, sick bag, baby wipes and extra clothes for your child and yourself. But, if they do throw up- oh well it’s really not the end of the world. Yes, you might stink. One of daughters after sitting next to happily an entire long-haul flight asked to go give her dad a cuddle. After 30 seconds in his arms and without warning threw up all over him. They were both soaked. After I changed her, it happened again. Luckily, I was able to use her sister’s clothes. Unfortunately, while we had packed extra clothes for the girls, we had failed to pack clothes for my hubby, so he basically sat the rest of his flight with his spring jacket (sans shirt) zipped up. Even then I was able to see the humor of the situation and my husband laughs about it now.
5. Label your Kids
Well, maybe not literally, just microchip them. Just kidding. Tempting. However, there are a number of products for children like earrings and watches that have GPS in them. However, these options appear to work better for national travel. For international travel, all my children have a list of contacts in their backpacks. On our long trip, they each had a mobile phone (with prepaid International Roaming) with our numbers in it in case they got lost. We also told them what to do if they did get lost. Often when a child is lost their instinct is to run around and look for their family. It’s important to teach children to stop where they are and listen for their name and yell parent names. Don't be shy to old hands even with older kids or to use the backpacks with the leash for younger ones who tend to run away. Also, never assume that the other parent "has" the kids. And finally, while this all sounds stressful, by being careful and having set systems in place, you can actually relax and enjoy yourself more.
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