Tag Archives: tips and tricks

Traveling With Kids: Tips for Travel With Young Kids

When we were growing up we did a lot of family vacations. In the early days we did a lot of camping, we went to lakes, the beach, and some national parks. I still have a very vivid memory of driving through a Redwood tree. As we got older we went to more places and stayed in hotels, mostly we traveled by car because flying with 3 or 4 kids (depending on if our older brother stayed home or went with us) was expensive for my folks. We flew occasionally, especially if the trip was far away. But since there were so many of us it tended to get crazy.

I knew when I began my own family that I wanted my kids to experience life, to have more great memories than great toys. So we decided early on to gift experiences as well as “stuff.” We discovered that our kids were just as excited to go to new places as they were to get things. Of course we always do a little souvenir at each place we visit, but it is usually something small and aligns more with memorabilia than toys.

We make sure to use a travel agent when we plan big trips that include plane-fare, hotel stays, and rental cars. You might think no that it is cheaper to find your own deal, but when it comes down to it the agents find better deals because hotels and airlines make package deals with them and each agent has a reward account with one or more hotels and airlines. We also maintain a rewards credit card that earns us travel points. That way when we use it we earn more rewards.

As far as travelling with small children you might be surprised how easy it really is. Most airlines allow for one free carseat and one free stroller check per person. So you do not even have to pay extra to bring them. Children under two can fly in a parents lap for free. And as long as you prepare flying with kids can be fairly uneventful. pack lots of snacks, toys, coloring books, and bring headphones for over their ears. Airlines usually have entertainment centers with games, music, and movies available for free now. They even stock kids favorites, including tv shows, and new release movies. However, airlines only give out earbuds for free. So if you want a small child to enjoy the sound bring good headphones.

Try to get a window seat, that way kids can watch outside during takeoff and landing. Also try to make sure kids are snacking or chewing gum during takeoff and landing. It helps alleviate the pressure in their ears. Moms who breastfeed can even nurse their baby or toddler during those times, it too helps with pressure.

You know your child best, you know their schedule and routine, and their fussiness factors. We have discovered our kids fly best mid-morning or just after dinner. That way they nap or sleep throughout the flight with small windows of wake-fullness. So think about what times are best for you and your kids. When you fly with kids try to make sure you arrive to the airport more than two hours ahead. Travelling with carseats and strollers means checking them in to bulky and oversize baggage check which means standing in line, you cannot do self-check.  So allow for extra time.

Travelling is fun, it can be stressful but it is also very rewarding. So don’t be afraid to travel with kids.

Parenting Ain’t Easy: Stomach Flu

It has been one of those weeks. Vomit, diarrhea, dehydration, and whiny kids. The stomach flu is not a pleasant experience for anyone, but it can be especially hard when you have little kids. Sometimes it hits fast, other times it is a long and arduous battle and only the parents are on the front-lines. When you are on the front-lines and feel like you have no comrades in arms remember that parents every where are waving that sign in the air, they are signaling to you the “I have been there!” sign. When you need a little help try to remember these helpful ideas.

  1. Stay calm: keep things a little quiet. Put on some cartoons, lay out a few books and quiet toys.
  2. BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. Keep it bland and simple. If they can keep these items down then try moving up, if the puking comes back, revert to BRAT once more.
  3. The bucket! Keep a bucket nearby for your little ones in case they need it.
  4. Towels: these are easy to wash and can be laid out on the floor near their beds, the ouch, etc. If they puke here it can be easily picked up and wash. Much simpler than cleaning the rugs or floor.
  5. Ginger ale, flat cola, pedialyte, water. Keep them hydrated but keep it simple. Small amounts all day long. Little sips.
  6. lots of rest. FOR EVERYONE. As they say on airplanes, take care of yourself first. You cannot care for anyone if you aren’t well. So try to make sure to keep yourself fed, hydrated, and rested.

It might take a few days but every one will be better soon and all of you will be stronger at the end.

Time and Sanity Saving Hacks

We all have days that we just cannot believe how many things go wrong. It is usually such a simple thing to, but it colors our whole day. The book and Movie Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day always comes to mind when my day starts to slide downhill. There doesn’t have to be much for a normal day to become bad, just the right series of events, the right amount of annoyance, craziness, or things that just don’t work. Well we cant promise to make bad days go away, I wish we could. But these are a few fun little hacks all over the internet that can keep a bad moment from becoming a bad day. We wrangled a few of them together to help you in moments of crises like these.

1. Your son or daughter is eating a popsicle at a summer barbecue, and it is melting all over their nice clean outfit. The outfit chosen especially for the family photo you haven’t taken yet. Try this. Place a cupcake wrapper on the popsicle. It will catch the drips and drizzles of a melting popsicle, and save you a meltdown of “family photo proportions.”

2. You left your 3 year old to go potty by themselves. When you went to check on them you realized that the nearly full toilet paper roll is now only sporting about 5 sheets. Next time try adding this fun little rule of thumb to your little ones bathroom. They pull the toilet paper down to this spot then tear.

3. The kids got all cleaned up by themselves after playing mud pies in the yard all day. You’re so proud, until you see that they used an entire bottle of soap while washing in the sink. Try this neat trick, twist a rubber band around the neck of the pump. Now the pump can only go down as far as the rubber band, and your kids can only get a little soap.

 

4. Your husband was being extra sweet and put the baby down for his nap today. But he forgot his shoes in the nursery and had to open the door to go back in for them. When he opened the door the baby woke up screaming. So much for nap time. Next time try this hack, wrap a rubber band around each doorknob so that it keeps the latch pushed in. Now you can open and shut the door without it latching hard and waking the sleeping babe.

 

5. Playdate day! But your best friend’s son got sick all over the legos. Don’t worry, just pop them in a mesh bag or old pillow case and toss them in the hot washing machine with some laundry detergent and maybe a little bleach. Problem fixed.

6. Your 12 year old is finally big enough to sit up front in the car. He is so excited and cannot stop using everything up front, including the cup holders. He has placed juice drink in the cupholder and it has spilled all inside the cupholder. Now everything sticks inside of it. Next time try placing a silicone cupcake liner in it, now when things spill you can easily pull them out and wash them.

These may all be small insignificant parts of our days, but when they pile up they can turn in to horrible days. So try some of these fun and simple hacks for an easy and horrible free fix.