As I write this post I am relaxing while my children take naps.
Our family (and I mean my husband’s ENTIRE family-18 of us) are all vacationing this week. It has been Ah-mazing, and has opened an opportunity for a good “how to survive…” post. If you’re not lucky enough to be able to hire a private jet with Jettly, read on!
So, here is it: How to Survive The Airport and Vacation with Small Children
1. Food- When all else fails FEED THEM. I packed a bazillion snacks for our plane ride. As a matter of fact, I carried an entire back pack full of snacks. Fussy? feed them. Ears hurt? Feed them. Tired but won’t sleep? Feed them. Bored? Feed them. Talking too loudly on a red eye flight? Feed them. (oh yea, if they’re hungry you should feed them too!)
2. Seating- On an airplane you can make sure your family’s seats are together by logging into your account online (or calling, I’m sure). Our planes had two rows of seats, 3 seats wide. So for us, with a family of 5, it was best to have: number 1 child at the window, number 2 next to number 1, then daddy on the aisle seat to help managed them, while mama sat across the aisle in the aisle seat, with baby. That way if we needed to hand/trade off we could. I could easily pass baby to daddy while I made her bottle/got her food out, etc. Also, brother (2.5yo) could come see me when he needed to. Also be sure to check your seating arrangements the day before you fly because they could have been changed without your knowledge!
3. One Activity- For us, drawing and writing is infinitely interesting to our kids, most of the time. Whatever it is that occupies your kids at home (that isn’t huge or require a lot of little pieces), take it with you for the plane and long lay overs in the airport! **Don’t take a TON of things. Chances are your kids will be just as content (if not more) having only one or two things to focus on. However, if your kids are at the “throw down and lose everything/have mom pick it up” stage, skip this entirely and let them play with the magazines on the plane!
4. Personal Backpacks– If your kids are 2 years and older, chances are they can carry a small to medium sized backpack with ease through the airport. With most airlines, each person that has a seat/ticket on the plane gets to take a carry on bag. That means even children can “carry” a bag on the plane. Take advantage of this! My daughter (4yo) took her own small backpack that had her “planner,” pen, a favorite book, and lovey for sleeping. In her brother’s backpack we carried them both a change of clothes, extra diapers for him (for sleeping and to prevent frequent bathroom breaks), and his sleeping lovey. Bringing a backpack is especially useful for long haul flights. We’re thinking of taking a trip to England since we found some good deals on stratford hotels. I’ve always wanted to visit that area but we’ve always been put off going due to the long flight. I might just wait until the kids are a little older though.
5. Change of clothes– This is HUGE. I never would have thought to take a change of clothes for the plane (this is my husband’s tip). But if you are flying over night, or all day long, a change of clothes can go a long way for everyone! Putting kids into their pajamas at night when they would usually be getting ready for bed sends a sleep que to them, and can help them be comfortable and relaxed. Also, a change of clothes (undies, shirt/yoga pants, shorts, or dress) for mom and dad is also nice. After all the loading, moving/running through airports it is nice to be able to change just your shirt. Don’t carry an entire new wardrobe, just enough to help you feel refreshed/clean/better.
6. Wear Baby- I found that wearing baby was a life saver! I didn’t really know how much I would use my carrier, but it turned out to be awesome. Now, don’t go get a carrier the week of vacation; you will want plenty of time to use it and get comfortable using it with and without help. I wore #3 on my front for the plane, and on my back at the beach. I did need help getting her in the carrier for my back because without a bed to drop her on (accidentally) I am just not comfortable doing it blind. What carrier should you get? That’s up to you; I love love love my Baby Hawk Mei Tai. There is also the BabyHawk baby Carrier that snaps! I sorta wish I had seen that one when I bought my mei tai before #3 was born… snaps are fast and easy, though not as versatile. (Just make sure you read how to properly wear baby, please! High on your chest/back, no facing outward, etc)
7. Sleep!- Let them sleep! I know on vacation it is hard to stop all the fun and going/doing for naps. But, for us, everyone is much happier and can go and do much, much more if they are well-rested. If the kids are exhausted and can’t function, how can you have a good time?! So, take a few hours, go rest, then get up refreshed and ready to go! The best way to get refreshed and energized by a good nap is if you’re staying in a beautiful and welcoming hotel while vacationing, like Boutique Hotel Downtown San Jose. This way, you and your child can rest up with a comfy bed while staying in luxury!
8. This thing: Trust me, you need it! Leave the pack n play at home and carry this for travel sleeping arrangements; we LOVE ours