We desperately needed a break from all the unpacking, adjusting to a new life, cold, winter, snow, so we decided to come visit Richie’s parents in Florida for a bit and reset and rejuvenate. While nothing sounded better than some time in the sun, there’s no getting around the anxiety caused by pending travel with a 4 year old and a baby. Each have their own needs for keeping them quiet and entertained and safe. Doing almost anything with the two of them these days is challenging (in a fun way;)), let alone traveling via airplane. There are bundles (literally) of things we need to pack and carry on and organizing them and making sure everything is readily available at our fingertips for potential melt downs and hunger pangs is wildly overwhelming.
On top of all that, we’re vegan and health conscious, so grabbing food at the airport is really not an option. So we need activities, food, herbs and holistic medicines, the list goes on.
On some of the mommy networks I’m on, I’ve seen questions posted a few times about what to do with a x year old on a flight. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are some things I make sure to bring with us every time we fly:
- Calms Forte for kids
- Hand sanitizer (I use this to sanitize the seat belts and arm rests and whatnot on the plane too.) I like the Dr. Bronner’s lavender one or the EO brand in sweet orange (orange oil is said to be a happy sent and calming to kids…I happen to love it and all citrus scents for myself as well).
- Lavender essential oil (calming for us all)
- Baby blankets (my kids still love their muslin swaddles as blankets for tv watching, cuddling, an extra layer...)
- A bottle of almond milk for bar, an extra single serve vegan milk, and a travel bottle warmer
- Art projects for Avital (the Melissa and Doug prepackaged sets are great. This time we brought the princess tiara decorating set. I also brought crayons and a pad, tons of stickers, and one of those paint with water booklets.)
- Tons of snacks: bananas, self serve baby food and apple sauce, whole wheat crackers, organic popcorn, last night’s leftover pasta and edamame, blueberries, cut mango…). I have a lunch box kinda thing from Built that I bought at Whole Foods. It stretches to pack it to the brim, has a convenient handle, and is the perfect size for kids snacks. I also use reusable snack bags (I have a bunch of different brands, I use them for Avi’s lunch and packing snacks on the go in place of ziplocks.)
- Sippy cups (princess ones of course)
- (Seventh Generation) diapers and wipes of course. Extra wipes for faces and hands.
- My iPad fully loaded with Avi’s favorite movies (which are currently Hotel Transylvania and Brave)
- Headphones for Avi
- Books for me (of course, in the rare case Bar falls asleep and I can sneak in a bit of reading.) Books for the kids in case they’ll pay attention long enough for me to read to them.
- Organic green tea bags. And, though my best friend, Ali, makes fun of me for it, I love Starbuck’s iced green tea. It’s organic and always easy to find. Grab one for the flight after you go through security to bring on the plane.)
- Potty toppers and table toppers (life savers in public areas as gross as an airport or airplane.)
Oh and I make sure we all take our vitamins the morning before along with extra vitamin C and an immune boosting herb blend.
Traveling with or without kids can be really taxing to our systems, it is no time to be missing sleep, eating poorly, staying to sedentary. Bring your own food, get more than enough sleep the night before, and get up and walk a few times throughout the flight. Moving around and getting the blood flowing helps your energy and immune system. No one wants to be sick on vacation or when the get home from one and NO ONE wants to vacation with sick kids. So doing a bit of extra work on the front end, preparing well, and having what you need on you makes a world of difference!
Another thing you can do that makes a world of difference while you're away with your family on vacation, is making sure you secure your home before you leave. Dealing with sick kids is one thing, but dealing with a break in when you come home is entirely another.
You can take small but important precautions like putting your mail on hold, letting your neighbors you'll be away so they can keep an eye on your house and even investing in a home security system (check out tophomealarms.com) for better protection from burglary. We just installed one in our house. Coming from the city where there is always someone in close proximity, I was nervous to be in the house alone with the kids. I feel more at ease when I know the alarm is on.
And with today's technology, you can even use your smartphone to check in on your home when you're at your vacation destination. I can even lock and unlock my front door! I've been letting in the construction workers and closing up behind them and putting on the alarm. It's pretty cool. So while you may not be able to control if your flight is on time or if your little ones get the sniffles, you can check in on what's happening, or rather not happening, at your home.