And traveling with babies!
This task can be daunting whether it’s a day trip to Great-Grandmas or boarding a 6 hour flight for a week long vacation. A friend of mine who works as a speech-language pathologist lives in the DC area but has family in Chicago and New Jersey, and friends across the country so every other weekend they are planning a trip. Did I mention she has a 6 month old? Not only is she an expert in communication but has great tips for traveling with a little one. Here is what she shared with me:
For starters, take a deep breath. Traveling with a baby can be scary. It’s hard! But there are ways to make it easier. And if all else fails, turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and call for room service. In all seriousness though, if things get too hectic, baby is overwhelmed and inconsolable, take a break. Excuse yourself from the party, skip out on going out to breakfast with your in-laws, give baby a little downtime, quiet time, mommy time. Remember, that’s all they want. YOU.
Now, let’s get that bag packed.
-blanket for playing on the floor
-a few small toys
-a couple of books (favorites here here and here)
–photo album of family members (Shutterfly has free prints via their app!
-songs/finger plays (they don’t take up any space!)
- Keep a small bag of these toys in the trunk of your car for when you end up stuck at a friends house who doesn’t have kids.
- Lay the blanket down to establish a play space. Do not expect baby to sit happily on the blanket for the rest of your trip but make it clear, to play with toys, you have to be on the blanket, or sitting in mom or dad’s lap. This way, your crawler/climber/runner is somewhat contained and not all over the airport or under the dining room table.
- However long you are going, hours or days, give one or two toys at a time and rotate in and out to help maintain interest. If you dump all of the toys out, within 5 minutes, you are going to be desperately digging in the diaper bag for something, ANYTHING.
- Somewhere without toys or baby is over it? Chances are there are plenty of non-toys within your reach. Empty water bottles, Tupperware, coasters, deck of cards, plastic cups for stacking/building/knocking down, tinfoil balls, basically anything in the kitchen that isn’t a knife. (Pro tip – check out the junk drawer)
Keeping a baby/toddler/adult happy and busy on a flight can be the most intimidating task of all. Have you ever sat still for an entire flight? NO. Neither can your baby. The same activities listed above can work. In addition, toddlers can be kept occupied for a tad longer but do require some more advanced activities then a simple rattle. Here are some options when you have
SnakesToddlers on a Plane, or anywhere else (doctors office, extended car ride, restaurant). Maybe you will even be lucky enough to board a plane where the passengers actually cheer on a crying baby.
-Notebook, stickers, crayons
Use an old wipes container as a travel art case.
Glue a dry erase or chalk board to the inside of the lid if you are crafty.
Pro tip – triangle crayons. No rolling.
-Window clings if you are lucky enough to have a window seat.
Or stick them on the tray table.
-Toy cars/trucks and masking tape to make a road map across the tray table
-Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. Aren’t we all happier when we are eating?
-If you are lucky to be flying with a companion, and both of you are feeling brave, choose seats away from one another. This way you can trade off. One person can get some quiet, and the surrounding passengers get a break as well.
Last but not least, you can do it. There is always an end in sight. Just like labor. And if your child cries, so what! Just remember, you set the tone. If you are stressed, everyone else will feel it. So try to have fun wherever you are. It’s a vacation! And don’t pass up the time for relatives to pitch in and help!