Seriously, travel can be fun and stress-free over the holidays.

My dad was an airline pilot.  We flew stand-by every single flight.  Talk about stress.  We had to jam all our necessities in our carry-on bags in case our luggage made the flight, but we didn’t.  Trust me, it happened more often than I care to remember.  We learned how important it was to have a toothbrush, hair brush and change of clothes handy in case we had to spend the night at an airport hotel.  It wasn’t easy, but we managed – and we managed to have fun too.

Yesterday I received some great travel tips from yesterday’s Bright Horizons eFamily News entitled “Up in the Air:  Flying with Children”. This helpful article covers everything, including:

1. Factors to consider when you make your travel arrangements – consider time of day relative to mealtimes and naps/bedtimes, as well as rush hour considerations for your drive to the airport. Also think about seating preferences, particularly if you have multiple children. Does an airplane seat, car seat or lap seat make sense for your child under 2? Will kids fight over who they get to sit next to?

2. Getting ready – dress for comfort and pack extra clothes for your children and yourself (I’ve got a great story about a Dad who “lost his shirt” due to a sick child and had to enjoy the flight, exposing his not-so-washboard abs to the rest of the passengers). Keep in mind the three biggest causes for a meltdown: dirty diaper, hunger/thirst, and boredom. One last thing: don’t forget their “lovie”, or in our case, “Mia”!

3. Dealing with airport logistics and wait timesBright Horizons has some great tips to prepare your children in advance so they have an idea of what to expect (chaos).  My daughter lost any tolerance for her stroller once she walked at 11-months. This made it very dangerous in the airport – escalators and elevators were far too tempting. Prepare your children by teaching them lessons about “sticking together” and holding hands. If they are old enough, have them carry their own backpack or suitcase to slow them down. Finally, you and they should wear easy slip-on shoes for security points as this area can be the most chaotic.

4. Enjoying the flight itself – Kids get antsy.  Be prepared to walk up and down the aisle several times (hopefully wearing the clean shirt you packed – see lesson 2).  Get ready for ear popping by having your drinks or pacifiers ready.  I love Bright Horizons recommendation to have some surprises ready for your kids – whether it is their favorite snack, a new DVD, a fun activity or a new book, it will make their day.  Better yet: let them pick out something special to buy at the airport.  Finally, prepare your sensitive children for the noise and sensations of take-off – it can be quite startling for some kids.

Read Bright Horizons e.Family News here and we wish you a safe and uneventful trip!

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Bright Horizons® Education & Training

Bright Horizons Family Solutions® is the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education and work/life solutions. Bright Horizons® provides children the opportunity to achieve their very best and empowers them to become confident, successful lifelong learners. A developmentally appropriate curriculum coupled with state-of-the-art facilities complement children’s inquisitive nature by giving them the tools to embark on the exciting path of growth and discovery.

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