For airplanes or car-rides, consider bringing the following: a portable DVD player with earphones (many planes are so loud that kids can’t hear their movies, not to mention the fact that most adult travelers don’t want to hear the Dora theme-song six times during one flight!); crayons and paper; music CDs (for car stereo or DVD player); puzzles with pieces attached by string (http://tinyurl.com/ribbonpuzzles); small books; toys that have lots of buttons to press (my kids love the V-tech Dial and Discover phone and Light-up Learning Camera (http://tinyurl.com/vtechtoys). Although some kids might do better with “old favorites,” mine love getting new movies (borrowed from the library), books, and inexpensive toys on long trips. However, despite the novelty of new toys, it can also be very comforting to bring a favorite stuffed friend along for the ride!
Archive for June, 2008
The Calm Mom’s Favorite Tips for Traveling with Kids – Tip #2: Bring great stuff on airplanes and car rides.Friday, June 27th, 2008
People assume that babies should sleep through the night much earlier than they actually do. It is actually not until six months of age that most babies are capable of sleeping through the night. While some babies will sleep through the night earlier than six months, many will not. Rather than becoming resentful of your baby for interrupting your sleep for upwards of half a year, accept it…and savor it. Before you know it, your little one will want to hold his own bottle and will be too busy for cuddles with mom.
Before you had kids, did you get on a plane with your purse and one little wheelie bag? Those days are over! Accept the fact that traveling with kids involves a lot of stuff. Here are a few thoughts on how to come prepared:
-Make a family packing list. Keep a computerized version that you can update and print out for each trip. Cross things off as you pack.
-If you are visiting family or friends, consider sending diapers, wipes, etc. using a service like http://www.diapers.com. This will save a ton of room in your suitcases.
-Many hotels now have Pac N’ Plays rather than those creepy 100-year old cribs. Call and ask. If they are available, that is one less item to bring. You might consider bringing your own sheets though, particularly if your baby has sensitive skin.
-For airplane trips, bring several more diapers than you can imagine needing, tons of wipes, disposable changing pads, lots of changes of clothes for both your little one and anyone who will be holding him, plenty of food and snacks, and things to entertain and amuse. People do get stuck on runways for hours and hours.
In our society, moms provide most of the day-to-day care of babies. This means that even after a few weeks, moms will have changed many more diapers and given many more bottles and baths than dads. Even the most involved dad will come home from work, eager to change a diaper, only to have his wife hovering, correcting his diapering technique. Before moms know it, dads have stopped helping completely. And who can blame them? Moms – you’ve got to give up the expert “thing”. Take a step back and ask yourself if the difference in diapering techniques even matters. If it doesn’t, let dad do his thing and enjoy his little one (while you get a break). If it does matter, consider how to communicate this to your spouse. For example, say, “The first few weeks of Junior’s life, his diapers were leaking all over the place! What a mess. Let me show you what I figured out to keep all the poop where it should be!” This is very different from, “Maybe you could put the diaper on straight this time. Last night, the poor kid was covered head to toe in poop when you changed him.” Would you want to change another diaper after that critique? I think not!
As we have talked about before at TheCalmMom.com, we recommend putting your baby to bed awake, but drowsy rather than fast asleep. The hardest thing about putting down a drowsy baby is that he will usually cry. You know why? Because babies cry…and that’s okay! Babies might cry to blow off steam. Rather than rushing to the rescue, remind yourself that a few minutes of crying might actually help your little one get to sleep. Decide on a time to go back in and check on the baby – maybe after five minutes of crying for very little babies. Give him a little pat on the back, say a calming phrase, “It’s sleepy time” and leave for another five minutes. Remember that as soon as you DO something to help your baby get to sleep (pop a pacifier in, give him a bottle to suck on, rock him, etc.), you have established a new association between one of your behaviors and sleep. This means that whenever your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, he is going to need that same stimuli to get back to sleep. So, resist the urge to rescue!
When babies get older, they often cry when mom and dad leave the room. This is a time when many parents get into habits like lying on the floor next to the crib till baby falls asleep or bringing baby into bed with them. Sure, this will stop the crying and help your baby to fall asleep. But again, think of the implications. Your baby is not learning to get himself to sleep. As your baby gets older, it will be harder and harder to break the association between you and sleep. This is how I end up with 11 year old kids in my psychology practice who still sleep in their parents’ rooms! The biggest problem for new parents is feeling guilty for letting their little ones cry it out. Try thinking about the situation a little differently. When you allow your baby to get to sleep on his own (even if he cries), you are helping him learn two essential lessons – how to soothe himself to sleep (something he will have to do every night for the rest of his life) and that he can trust his parents. Even though separating can be hard, mom and dad are always there in the morning.