Traveling with kids is already hard… let alone traveling alone with kids. While traveling with kids has certainly many upsides (it encourages a stronger bond between the parent and the child, among all other things) it is normally expected that it would be a rough sailing, for either mom or dad.
Whether you’re a single dad or not, there are times when you had to (and would love to) take the kids out all by yourself one time, especially during the holidays or school breaks. If this is actually your first time traveling (or even if it’s your tenth time) with your children and you have no idea how to manage it well , you’ve come to the right place! Here are the following tips to ensure a smooth and (nearly) fuss-free day out with your little ones! These tips are culled from different dads who have gone the same ordeal (and have quite become experts on it).
1) Bring book bags.
If you’re set for a long road trip or a long flight, let your kids to carry their own book bags. Fill them with anything that will keep them occupied for hours. Books, magazines, game consoles, tablets, some munchies, medicines and napkins (expect them to cry and wail a lot).
2) Pacify your child in whatever means possible.
Speaking of “some munchies,” you should bring along high-sugar snacks that will appeal most to your kids’ taste buds, in order to keep them quiet during those long hours of commuting. So for now, it’s not the right time to force your child with a healthy, whole-grain, sugar-free diet. Instead, pack their bags with a handful of lollipops, packs of M&M’s and soda pops. You never really know when your flight attendant will come to the aisle with the next meal… as well as your kids’ reaction to that meal. Most children do not take airplane food too kindly, do they?
3) When they sleep… you should sleep too.
Airplane passengers tend to disregard their body clocks especially when they fly across many different time zones. Children won’t sleep at all even if they’re told to sleep. But don’t worry, all the rowdiness and tantrums will make them tired in the long run. When you see their eyes drooping, you need to grab that golden opportunity to doze off too… even if it’s a one-hour nap (because we know you’re exhausted too).
4) Don’t allow them to go to the airplane lavatory alone.
When in a plane, always accompany your kids to the lavatory, unless they’re old (and responsible) enough to do it alone.
5) Use changing tables in the lavatory.
When you had to change your kids’ clothes or diapers, do it at a changing station inside the airplane lavatory, and not at your seat. If you do the changing at your seat, other passengers will start throwing bad looks at you and you are more likely to get into trouble than you think (that diaper odor is enough to drive anyone else crazy!). Most lavatories in airplanes are equipped with a changing station where you can change your kids’ clothes and diapers without distracting anyone.
6) Bring extra clothes – for your kids and for you, too.
Of course, you cannot bring your kids to the changing station without extra clothes. Also, anticipate your kids to spill food on your clothes or to get sick and throw up, so it’s better to bring your own clothes as well just to be sure.
7) Choose to stay in a hotel with a pool.
Hotels are a new environment for the kids, with a lot of things for them to see, touch and explore. No wonder, sleeping in hotels can be a real challenge for them. That’s why hotel pools are a great way to keep them occupied in one place and most importantly, a great way to wear them out! They will spend much of their energy swimming and playing in the kiddie pool, until they get exhausted and want to get back to the hotel room quickly to doze off. Then you will be able to relax.