Let’s be honest. Traveling in general can be pretty stressful. Being a parent can be stressful too. When you combine the two, the task can be daunting. Having flown with my children (both solo and with my husband/grandparents) it will always be daunting. You’ll have that one flight where the plane is nearly empty and your baby is blissfully asleep the entire time that you think I can do this. You’ll also have that flight where your baby is in desperate need of a nap, but is fighting it so hard that you are in the galley pacing back and forth as the flight attendants give you sympathetic looks. And you think to yourself the entire time, “Why am I subjecting myself to this madness?!” You’ll also have flights that are some where in between.
I think for most parents we worry too much about what others think of us and our parenting. We don’t want to be that parent with a child who cries all the time, whose kid is imposing on a poor stranger, or worse, be thought of as terrible parents. I’m here to tell you not to worry! You know your child best, and you’ll be able to mitigate these situations well enough that no one seriously will notice. And if they do notice, they are silently sympathetic and/or amazed at the job you are doing.
As I’ve told several friends about flying with kids, you have to remember that almost everyone on that flight is a mother/father, grandfather/grandmother, aunt/uncle, cousin, brother/sister, etc. The good majority have interacted with a child and can empathize with you if things don’t go as planned. Just remember that you are on a flight with hundreds of people who fit this category and you’ll maybe have a handful of people who have never dealt with a child before. Don’t feel bad if things go sour because that majority understands. Do your best and that majority will appreciate and admire you.
Where ever you are going, you will get through it. It’s just a means to an end, which is a great trip where you’ll create memories you’ll cherish–remember that. As long as you are prepared, you’ll survive and you’ll do it all over again.
Here are a few tips I’ve made to help you travel with your kids. Hopefully you’ll find them useful too!