We’re back from our week-long trip to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. It was great, but best of all, Franco did amazingly well. My little dictator has suddenly turned into a well-behaved 25-month-old! He listens, follows instructions, and can actually keep still for periods of time. I am loving this stage of motherhood. It gets better and better every day. I keep telling Dean, “I can’t wait until Franco is 15!”
This was our first long-distance (5 hours) flight and here are some tips that kept us sane.
- Break the flight down into increments of 30 minutes. The first 30-60 minutes will hold their attention because the environment will be new. They can fiddle with their seatbelt. They can look out the window or people-watch. Same for the last 30-60 minutes. Flight attendants come around more often to collect trash, they check to see that your seatbelt is fastened, and there’s generally more activity at the beginning and end of the flight to hold their attention.
- If you can get your kid to sleep, more power to you. Franco is a poor napper and sleeper. I resigned myself to him staying awake and having a temper tantrum, but the opposite happened. During take-off, I massaged his head and gently closed his eyelids and he went to sleep. I couldn’t believe it! He slept an hour on the flight over, and two hours on the way back. SCORE! Bring a pillow or something that reminds your kid that it’s time to sleep. Everyone in our row was sleeping and I kept telling Franco, “See? Everyone is tired. It’s time to go sleepy.”
- Activity Time. Every 30 minutes, break out a new distraction, whether it’s a toy, book or gadget. Anything new. Go to every neighborhood dollar store and clean house. I went to Daiso where everything is $1.50 and picked up games, pipecleaners, stickers, a digital watch (yes, for $1.50), a tally counter, cupcake holders. You have to be careful with the pipecleaners since the ends are sharp, but we made letters, numbers, shapes, animals. Best time drain ever! Franco also loves stickers and band-aids. Band-aids are great because I think they really help with a kid’s dexterity, peeling the wrapper off, then adhering the band-aid somewhere. Here are some helpful Amazon links: cupcake holders, band-aids, pipe cleaners, tally counter. By the way, I did not pay those prices. Remember I got my shizzle from the dollar store!
- Reading Time. If your kid doesn’t read, you’re a bad parent. Seriously. Here are some good books for the plane: Airport, Best Little Board Book Ever, Sticker Activity ABC, Thomas and the Dinosaur.
- Snacks. Kids love snacks. Franco loves chips, specifically. I have to sneak it to him, though, because my mom gets really upset. She goes off on how it’s junk food and he’ll pick up bad habits, even though I only give him snacks after or in-between full meals. I’m like, “This kid is not going to get fat. Junk food is good for him!” Good snacks for the plane: chips of any kind and mini-sized cookies. I’d say fruit too, but who has time to wash and cut-up fruit before a long trip. This is why I need a personal assistant!
- Media Time. Lastly, there are always apps, TV shows, and cartoons. I personally try to keep Franco away from media as much as possible. Dean is the opposite. However on a plane, I’m willing to bend the rules. I use Common Sense Media to help guide my download decisions. I let Franco watch: Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Thomas the Train and Wonder Pets. He also loves to watch Youtube videos of Amtrak trains. Go figure. Buy these headphones. There’s an extra port for the adult to plug into and listen in. That way you can make sure the volume is controlled.
Any other tips? I would love to hear!