Elizabeth Lyons discusses what you should carry on a plane when you travel with small children.
I hear from moms all the time who say, “I am getting ready to get on a plane. I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, what do I do? What do I need to have?”
And yes, there is a list of practical items that I recommend that women pack and I’ll get to those in a second, but beyond those you should absolutely pack a sense of humor and low expectations, which sounds negative and it’s not, or it sounds pessimistic, it’s realistic.
If you go in expecting the absolute worst, it can’t get any worse than that so your experience can only be better than you initially expect. And I have women who go in thinking, this is going to be the worst nightmare in the whole world.
And they get off the plane and say, “Well, you know, Suzy threw up five minutes in, and Johnny screamed the whole way, but it just really wasn’t that bad,” because it never matches the absolute worst case scenario that you can envision.
As far as practical tips for traveling with young kids, definitely wear two shirts because a child will throw up within the first ten minutes, and this way you can shed the first shirt and not have to wear this throw-up covered shirt for the entire length of the flight.
If you are taking sippy cups, make sure that you take like Ziploc bags that you can put the sippy cups in, because as the cabin pressure changes they start leaking everywhere. And if you don’t have them in sippy cups when you arrive at your destination, your entire diaper bag will be drenched.
A third tip I have is pack a backpack that is just with the kid stuff and have little, inexpensive but interesting items that you can unwrap at different intervals.
So what you’ll tell your kids, and this works great for 3-year-olds and up basically because they can conceptualize time. After we take off you’ll get item number one.
And then after they serve pretzels or whatever it is, or you can even tell them it’s by their clock and tell them what time, but we are talking about crayons or those magnetic draw-boards or little many Etch-a-Sketches – things that don’t cost a lot of money but it keeps them anticipating something and then it keeps them entertained once they have it for that flight.
About Elizabeth Lyons:
Elizabeth Lyons is many things: mom, wife, friend, lunch maker, chauffeur, hostage negotiator, author, on-call plumber, tile layer, guitar student, window washer, product designer, and on and on. One thing she is not is Superwoman.
Elizabeth lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids, two dogs, two fish, four barely surviving organic gardens, and whatever (or whomever) else has taken up residence with them in the last five minutes. She is the author of “You Cannot Be Serious - and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom.”