Welcome to Educated, Common Sense Parenting! This is my parenting education/commentary blog. Start here and read About This Blog.

I believe too many parents today have let their children rule their households. Their children dictate their daily lives, demand every ounce of their attention and do not show any respect for their parents. This needs to change. The only way to do this is if parents start letting good old common sense start dictating their parenting practices and stop letting their children run the show. You're the parent. Act like one.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Plane Travel with Little Ones: Part 1

I just returned from our annual trip to the Midwest to visit Scott's family--the first time with two kids in tow! To Scott and I both, it's extremely important for our kids to know their family on both sides. So it wouldn't matter if we had one kid or four, we would always make the effort to make this annual trip.

I will shamelessly admit that I was dreading this trip. I was really excited to see the family, don't get me wrong. BUT....the car seats, the changing diapers on the plane, the blowouts and of course--the God-forsaken security line with all the gel-and-liquid-declaring, shoe-taking off, laptop-taking-out and stroller-folding-up HELL. It's enough to make anyone never want to fly again. Yes my friends, before we left Scott and I dug in our heels, gritted our teeth and decided with a newborn and a (very) active 3 year old, that this was going to be the trip from hell. Not to mention since I have been on maternity leave, I have had both Brooke and Will on a pretty good schedule so of course, that was going to be thrown completely out of whack.

But as with many things in life, good things happen when you least expect them. It was the EASIEST trip I we have taken with kid(s)! In fact, we both wished we would have stayed longer! As I sat on the plane with an occupied 3 year old on one side of me and a sleeping baby on my arms I developed the following observations:

1) If you love to travel, having kids should not stop you. If you do some good planning-ahead, traveling with little ones doesn't always have to be a pain in the butt. My travel tips from this trip will be in the next blog and I hope everyone will share theirs as well!

2) Even if your plane travel with your little ones is a diarrhea, scream-fest, meltdown disaster, just grin and bear it. Look at it this way--more than likely, in 5 hours or less, it will all be over. Plus, it will make for some hilarious stories and blog posts! And you know what--when these little rascals are around 12 or 13, they'll refuse to be seen in public with you much less TRAVEL with you, so just laugh as you're changing the third blowout in 2 hours.

3) A stable, well-planned (ok, scheduled!!) home-life is an absolute Godsend when traveling with kids. More on that in the next post!

4) The more your kids travel, the more both you and your child will get used to the drill. And with each subsequent year your child gets older, the easier it gets: the first time we went to the Midwest with Brooke, she was 7 months and I didn't know what in the heck I was doing--tough. The second time, she was 18 months--tough age, meltdown central. The third time, she was 2 1/2 and it was much easier but not perfect. This time, she's 3 1/2 and although there were many kinks I still need to work out, it was pretty painless. She was taking off her shoes and walking through security like a pro.

5) Age of your kids definitely plays a part in ease of travel (0-6 months and 3-4 years and up seems to me to be the easiest). However unless you want your kids to completely put your travel life on hold, you need to suck it up. I for one, refuse to stay home for 5+ years until both of my kids are at a "sane" traveling age! If you follow "Babywise" philosophy, your children are an amazing ADDITION to your family life--but your life shouldn't completely revolve around them. So even if you think it might be a pain in the butt, give it a try. You could be missing out on a lot of fun! In fact, one of the most fun, relaxing "vacations" I have taken was a trip to Florida to visit Scott's grandparents when Brooke was about 16 months old.

So go for it!!!!


  1. Man, I could write a novela on this topic.

    We took Jillian on her first flight at 10 weeks old. And, it wasn't a straight shot. Numerous connections: JFK to ATL to ABQ to SLC to SFO and finally SFO back to JFK. We visited two sets of family on our way out West (ABQ and SFO) and had a horrific layover in SLC for over 6 hours. Complete and utter hell.

    But what we learned is that we only fly direct and hit one family at a time. And really, the worst is now behind us. The next time it will be a cake-walk.

    So, once you check your luggage and enter the airport and you think "Oh, we only have x hours until we reach our final destination -- it won't be that bad." Think of us, with a 10 week old and how long we ended up having to wait due to our flight not leaving on time and missing our connecting flight due to a severe snow storm.

    Traveling is not easy -- with or without children. But, you can't put your life on hold because you have them. You charge forward and make the best out of the situation. Practice makes perfect!

  2. Exactly--practice is what makes it easier! Lack of snowstorms and delays helps, too :-)

    More tips to come in Parts 1 and 2! :-)

  3. Well, since Kate has flown on over 15 round trip flights with 5 of them to Tokyo I should probably put my two cents into the mix.

    Avoid ORD at all costs during the winter months
    Buy a seat for your baby and bring the car seat on the plane

  4. YES!! I best tip--PRAY!!! :-) And always, always buy your kid a seat...i would say if they're over 6 months for sure! Having kids ain't cheap and neither is traveling with them!