By Kelly Hines
We are not big travelers. Once a year to the beach, the occasional road trip, a quick jaunt to Blowing Rock. As someone who spent too much time pre-kids on airplanes, I’m not exactly jumping at the chance to get on one. So when we planned not one but TWO trips that required taking my entire family on a plane, well – y’all, I had the vapors.
There are plenty of resources out there, chock full of good, practical tips on flying with children. I am neither good nor practical, so I came up with my own tips.
Divide and Conquer
I have three kids. The oldest is a teenager, which makes her a non-factor. I see her so infrequently that sometimes I wonder if she’s already moved out. I anticipate our interaction on the plane to be minimal – she’ll grunt “Window,” and that will pretty much be it. That leaves the 9 year old with anxiety and a tendency to puke, and the 6 year old who asks questions incessantly. I have an irrepressible need to answer questions fully and accurately, even when it means going insane. My husband has a hair trigger gag reflex. I get the puker, he gets Captain Why. (Bonus? The puker didn’t puke, but little dude talked non-stop).
I’m actually not talking about drugging your kids up. I’m talking self-medicating. Do some yoga, meditate, pray, read, drink a $5 Bloody Mary and keep a bottle of Xanax in your purse. Whatever you need to stay chill. I don’t judge.
I’m totally on board with the serious articles on this one. Something happens to my children when they do not have immediate access to copious amounts of snacks. They become whiny, irritable, irrational, and really, really mad. OK, so that’s me – but the kids get pretty hangry, too. Each child got individual snack bags, full of exactly the same thing in exactly the same amounts. I packed them each enough food to get through about 3 days, because they are human garbage cans and I never want to be in a position where I don’t have a granola bar to feed the animals.
Poop Before You Go
EVERYONE. You know what’s worse than having to poop on an airplane? Having to squat down in front of your pooping child, sweating like a pig, and trying to convince them that their entrails are not going to be sucked out of their body and flushed into the sky. Also, if you’re a person whose body completely shuts down on vacation (you know who you are), the last thing you want is a week’s worth of cheeseburgers, chips, and taco soup requesting exit at 30,000 feet.
Pro tip: Don’t order apple juice on the plane.
Video Saves the Day
Look, I’m sure we’re all perfect parents who don’t allow more than 30 minutes of screen time daily. But throw the rules and your shiny mommy badge out the window. If 4 hours of America’s Funniest Home Videos cuts the number of times they ask, “When are we going to be there?” in half, it’s well worth the brain rot. Most airlines have free access to a variety of programs via your wireless device. Whether it’s your kids and AFV, or you binge watching Orange is the New Black (not next to the kids, of course), television can be a serious boredom buster.
Armed with these tips (and maybe some of the more practical ones as well), you and your family are sure to have a relaxed, worry free flight. Safe travels, friends!