Sydney to Los Angeles. Los Angeles to Atlanta. Atlanta to Fort Walton Beach. Whew. Around 24 hours of traveling with a 15 month old and a 2 month old. People warned me it would be awful. I was advised to drug the children. I was advised to drug myself. I brought toys and books and other tricky things to keep everyone happy. All in all it was a major success. I learned a few things.
1) Don’t bother trying to keep your normal schedule while traveling. We follow a routine at home but airplanes and airports are not home. You can’t eat or take naps exactly on queue because there are factors beyond your control. Eat when they bring the food. Nap when the kids give out.
2) Don’t force your toddler to do things they don’t want to do. Our 15 month old was an angel until we attempted to put her in the bassinet to sleep. She screamed.bloody.murder. We relented and let her out and she was happy for the duration. She eventually gave out and got into the bassinet on her own. After that we just let her determine what she wanted to do. Does she rule the roost at home? Absolutely not. Were we at home? No. Not having a screaming baby was the goal and the way we achieved that goal was to just keep her happy.
3) Your children will fall right back into normal very soon so the goal is to just make it through. We were in the States 48 hours and she was already taking two naps and sleeping 12 hours at night just like at home.
4) Buy a lot of food when you are through security so you can feed the kids whenever they are hungry or if they do not like what is being served. A few times we found that our daughter wouldn’t eat what was offered but that we had no alternative to offer her. She seemed to stay up for a full 24 hours and barely eat anything, but she lived.
5) “Apologize” to those sitting near you before take-off but do not take on anxiety that your children are disturbing everyone else’s flight. If you are too worried about the slightest noise they make you will need to steal some booze from first class to make it through. Children are children and you can do your best to ensure they behave respectfully but at the end of a day, who will blame a small sleep deprived child out of their routine for being a little fussy? The answer. Non parents. And who cares what they think anyway….
PS – Click hereto read other “What I Learned” posts