Trav­el­ing With Lit­tle Kids

The Freeman - - LIFESTYLE - By Nena Son­galia

There is a time when even the most home-based of par­ents need to travel. Okay, home-based pre­sum­ably means they just want to stay put at home, they don’t like to travel. But want­ing to travel is not the only rea­son why peo­ple travel – there are times, per­haps rarely, that they just need to travel for some very im­por­tant rea­son.

Of and by it­self, trav­el­ing for peo­ple who don’t like to travel can al­ready be such a has­sle. Worse, if the travel en­tails tug­ging along lit­tle kids. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence be­comes “dou­ble whammy’ for re­luc­tant trav­el­ers.

Okay, the cou­ple may have to at­tend an im­por­tant fam­ily oc­ca­sion – say, an 89-year-old grand­par­ent’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion, or a sib­ling’s wed­ding etc. – and there’s re­ally no one at home to leave the kids with. Or what if the kids them­selves are the “stars” of the fam­ily oc­ca­sion in an­other city, on an­other island or an­other coun­try? Trav­el­ing with lit­tle kids can be as daunt­ing as a trip to the moon, par­tic­u­larly for moms.

Glo­be­trot­ting par­ent Erica We­ber seems to have very well mas­tered the or­deal. In an ar­ti­cle at www.par­ents.com, she re­lates what she had been through in trav­el­ing to many coun­tries with her lit­tle daugh­ter. For all the mo­ments that tested her san­ity, there have also been “some pretty amaz­ing ones to re­mind us why we do this.”

We­ber write: “Our daugh­ter, Nala, was born in South Africa, learned to crawl in Monaco, climbed her first set of stairs in a 13th cen­tury cas­tle in Ire­land, ate her first solids in the tapas bars of Spain, learned to walk in a rug shop in In­dia, and said her first words in the UK. She’s been car­ried up 1,000 steps in Pe­tra, Jor­dan, and 700 steps in Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan.”

Looks like real-life ex­pe­ri­ence should have made her an ex­pert. Well, it sure has. The tips she shares on the web­site are proof:

1. Be pre­pared for UFOs.

Uniden­ti­fi­able Filthy Ob­jects find their way onto a tod­dler like aliens to Will Smith. Guard against probes and germs by al­ways hav­ing sanitizing wipes within easy reach.

2. Don’t vac­ci­nate and fly.

What do di­a­per blowouts, fevers, and rashes all have in com­mon? They’re all usual side ef­fects of rou­tine vac­ci­na­tions that you do not want to deal with dur­ing a travel day. Book vac­ci­na­tions no closer than one week to an up­com­ing travel to avoid any is­sues.

3. Two words about ex­tra out­fits: pack them.

You think ex­tra out­fits are only for in­fants and award show hosts? Wrong. Tod­dlers find new and cre­ative ways to de­stroy their cloth­ing ev­ery day, so never for­get that ex­tra out­fit (or two).

4. Mas­ter the art of ne­go­ti­a­tion.

While not pay­ing for your un­der-two-year-old to fly is great, hav­ing to sit with her on your lap is not. Ask ev­ery gate agent and flight at­ten­dant you meet mul­ti­ple times if the flight’s full and if they can move peo­ple around so your fam­ily gets a cov­eted free open seat. Ugh, I’d flirt with the cleanup crew if I thought they had any in­flu­ence in the mat­ter!

5. Be a Mo­bile Mama Med­i­cal Unit.

No, it’s not the next “CSI” spin-off, it’s the travel first aid kit you pack re­gard­less of des­ti­na­tion that cov­ers the whole fam­ily, from hang­overs (ahem, I mean “adult headaches”) to fever­ish chil­dren. I al­ways carry two dur­ing travel: a small carry-on ver­sion with travel-sized es­sen­tials like Band-Aids, as­pirin, parac­eta­mol, etc., and then a slightly larger ver­sion that goes in my check-in bag with non-travel sized medicine bot­tles.

6. Snacks. Snacks, snacks, snacks... did I men­tion snacks?

For­get toys, snacks are how you keep a child busy and happy dur­ing travel. Fruit, veg­gie, dry snacks, pouches, bis­cuits, there’s re­ally no end to the snack rain­bow that I can pull out of my carry-on at any given mo­ment.

7. Book a night flight and carry a big scarf.

The com­bi­na­tion of a light­weight scarf and an overnight flight is what tod­dler travel dreams are made of. Use that scarf to block day­light or plane light and book overnight flights when­ever pos­si­ble so they can be tired enough and it be

dark enough to sleep.

8. Pack for pres­sure.

Wa­ter, food, paci­fiers, pas­sion­ate con­ver­sa­tions about your in­ter­ests... use what­ever it is that will get your tot’s jaws mov­ing dur­ing take­off and land­ing to help with ear pres­sure dis­com­fort.

9. Jump up, jump up, and get down.

Have a mid-flight ants-in-your-tod­dler’s-pants at­tack? Don’t hes­i­tate to get up and walk around with him. Some­times a few min­utes in the plane gal­ley or a few trips up and down the aisle is enough to dis­tract, refresh, and avoid an im­pend­ing melt­down.

Grab that cov­eted over­head stor­age space and keep your kid off the plane for a few ex­tra pre­cious min­utes. How? Send your spouse with the carry-on lug­gage ahead of you and wait with your Tas­ma­nian tod­dler in the gate area to burn off a bit more en­ergy be­fore hav­ing to sit down.

If there’s only so much of what you can re­mem­ber from Ms. We­ber’s ideas, it should be this: With enough di­a­pers and snacks you can get any­where in the world! So don’t stress, pack some cook­ies, and en­joy your next fam­ily travel ad­ven­ture.

Peo­ple – par­ents most es­pe­cially! – al­ways love to share ex­pe­ri­ences with their fam­ily. And what bet­ter con­cept of fam­ily than the lit­tle lovely crea­tures who al­ways want to come along wher­ever mommy and daddy go.

10. Di­vide and con­quer.

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