This may not come from my 7 years of medical training for a career in pediatrics, but after our first big family trip (i.e. it involved an airplane) and being the parents of 3 children, I feel comfortable sharing these 5 travelling tips when children are involved. So in no particular order, here they are:
1. Monitor Your Children: Look, I will be the first one to defend a child but I was amazed with this one family on the plane ride home. Granted, they did have quite a few children but one of their youngsters was repeatedly kicking the seat in front of her. Calmly and respectfully, the gentleman in front of her asked the parents to help stop the kicking. The parents basically ignored him and implied this is what children do. Ultimately, the gentleman lost his cool (which is not cool in front of children) but I was still appalled by the parents’ response. It absolutely is our “job” to monitor our children as best we can.
2. Keep Snacks Handy: When checking out museums or going on long walks, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the sugar levels can drop a bit which means crankiness in the younger ones and mood swings in your older kids. It happens to adults, so why not children as well? So keep some healthy snacks handy because you may never know when you might need them.
3. Don’t Forget the Booster Seat: Well, of all the things we packed, we forgot to bring the booster seat. We were able to figure out a solution to the problem but things would have been a whole lot easier if we had a booster seat for our youngest.
4. Be Mindful of Children’s Interests: Returning to Chicago is always a chance for some nostalgia for my wife and me. But we soon realized my oldest didn’t need to see the hospital she was born at from 10 different angles and we didn’t need to circle our old downtown Chicago apartment 3 times. By the time of the last circle, I think my kids would have preferred just sitting in front of the building rather than go around “just one more time.”
5. Sickies Should Sleep Together: Now I’m sure this will sound like whining but if I can help someone else out in the future, I’m ok with that. We were sleeping in tight-enough quarters and 3 out of the 5 of us had colds. And since the kids could not share a bed without a major fight over the sheets or who is kicking who, I teamed up with my son for 3 nights. That’s 3 nights of runny and sneezy nose within a couple feet of me. He’s now feeling great while my nose has become a faucet. Yes, better than picking up the stomach bug but just some food for thought. (And yes, I just reread this and it does sound kind of whiney.)
And please feel free to share any tips you might have…
- Dr. Jeremy
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