We’re getting ready to take a long flight with the kids–I mean really long. We’ll be leaving our home at 8am Pacific Standard Time, and three flights later we’ll arrive in Santiago, Chile at 8am local time (the equivalent of Eastern Standard Time). That’s 21 hours–not counting travel after we touch down! Here’s what we’re planning to do to stay sane on our flight.
1. Arrive early at the airport so there’s no rushing. When I rush, I get tense; and when I get tense, I get short with the kids. Arriving early tacks on a little more time, but allows us to deal with unexpected potty breaks and to proceed through the airport at a reasonable pace.
2. Use extra airport time as an opportunity to get exercise. Moving sidewalks? Underground shuttles? My kids practically put these airport attractions on the same pedestal as fixtures at a playground. And, when small legs need to burn off excess energy, we find an empty waiting area where we can run races or do an obstacle course.
3. Hold off on the movies until the distraction is absolutely necessary. Movies can be a beautiful escape–they are our trump card on a long flight. But after a certain point, too much screen time can also make my kids antsy. We’ll try to refrain from pulling out the portable DVD player and iPads until we need them.
4. Have lots of extra protein bars in the carry on. Like any human being, my kids have to be well fed and well watered to keep their wits about them. Carbs are an easy find, but good protein snacks–especially for our vegetarian clan–are hard to come by. We don’t leave home without a load of bars stashed in the backpack.
5. Bring a blanket for naps and sleeping through the night. If I’m expecting my kids to sleep on a flight, I pack a blanket. Pulling it out sends a message that it’s time to snuggle in and close those beautiful eyes.