Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Leaving' on a Jet Plane {Part 1}

Traveling with young ones can be quite the task, keeping them clean and entertained can be tiring and taxing to say they least. But having done it numerous times, Dave and I have figured out some ways to keep each other sane and the kids happy, and even have a {little} fun along the way. I've done a post about it in the past and you can read it here but I thought I would expand a little on some more, and teach you how to make the tray table cover! It's pretty simple and it really does make a world of difference!

Some tips for what to DO on the plane! This may seem like a lot of prep and planning, but it's easier than trying to entertain a little one in a 12 by 12 inch space with no supplies!

1. Everyone loves a present! This started when we were traveling for Christmas and we thought it would be a fun treat for the kids to open presents. Well honestly any time of year you fly, you can do this. We buy small presents for the kids and wrap them up. This year the loot includes things like Polly Pockets for the girls, a small Lego set for Jonah, coloring pages, Velvet Art coloring pages, Bendaroos, play dough and some little art projects. The key is finding them things to keep their hands busy. If their hands are busy so will their minds be! And yes taking the time to wrap them makes it all the better. We've never had any problems with wrapped presents before!

2. Munchies to Munch! Just for good measure, assume your kids aren't going to like what the airline is either selling or passing out. And there are tons of great single packs of snacks from applesauce to m&m's. Seriously don't bother with what you aren't sure your kids will like, bring only what you know they will eat, and enjoy. If you don't normally buy processed snacks like Goldfish, this might be a good time for a treat! We always pack a few juice boxes per child (and yes this is allowed for your children) but this year we've also packed some small drinking containers for the on-flight drinks (which are free and they do offer healthy options). It's always nerve wracking to try and hold on to all their drinks, so invest in a few of these and sit in peace.

3. Storytime! If your kids love story time at home, extend it on the airplane! A good Chapter book will do the trick and usually induce sleep as well! If you can, read slowly and clearly, and extend the time you would normally take to read a chapter. If you have independent readers, some new books (really, it's worth it) that THEY can read to the younger ones will be priceless for a few minutes if rest yourself. Readers are light and thin and can double as a present!

4. Movie night! If you are taking a long flight like we do to get from Hawaii to Florida a movie is a must. Preferably a NEW movie none of the kids have scene before, or a favorite for younger kids. Either way, almost 2 hours of your little one sitting peacefully is very valuable. And you can charge the DVD player between flights in the airport.

5.Get in the Action. You can pack that magazine, book or knitting. But don't start huffing when things don't go your way. Just go along with what the kids are doing, if they want you to color, grab a crayon. Play with play dough, start molding. BE WITH your children instead of trying to entertain them. Trust me, keeping busy yourself actually makes the trip go by quicker. I almost feel sorry for people traveling without children, their flights are much longer than mine ;) Bring along some travel  games as well. They have magnetic checkers (so you don't lose all those little pieces. Go fish, old maid. And plan on playing along with them!

6.Act like a new Mom. Meaning, when the kids sleep, YOU sleep. Do what ever it takes or at least put your head back in some mostly uncomfortable position and close your eyes. You may not get a chance to do it again. Even in the middle of the day, you'll need as much rest as you can get traveling, don't waste this time!

7. Layover Madness Most people hate layovers, but if you have lots of little ones, you need to see them as a sanity break for both you and your children. Find a place (and some airports actually have play areas) where your kids can run, jump, roll around on the floor and get all that energy out. Seriously ignore the looks you get from the strangers and the "I don't have kids but if I did I would never....." people. Trust me, you won't see them again and if you do. Oh well.

Hopefully this was helpful, it's really not rocket science, but doing a little planning ahead of time can make for a more enjoyable trip! Stay tuned for my Tray table cover tutorial!

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