My husband and I grew up very very far from one another. I in western Canada and he in Texas. So during the holidays we are always traveling somewhere since we live neither place.
I love to travel , well I LOVED to travel before my son was born. Now as any parent knows we get the evil eye from other passengers at the gate. Some are almost screaming through their stares " Not next to me, please not next to me!"
It's not fair, most kids are good kids and will not leave the flight having traumatized the adults around them. But as a parent I know every flight is a possible meltdown, and there is only so much we can do.
Here are my tips:
1. Full Belly getting on the plane, and keep it full while you are traveling. I am not suggesting you stuff your kids , just keep grumbly tummies at bay to keep whining about it to a minimum too. We pack crackers, fruit leather, whole pieces of fruit and cheese sticks. Many are "treats" to my son but healthy foods that aren't quick to digest and leave him with a sugar crash.
2. Novelty gifts. For my son this means matchbox cars. They cost us under a buck each and we stock up on 1 per hour of our trip. After a 14 hour road trip ( yes straight through, stopping only for the potty) this summer he knows that he can expect a new toy if and only if the fussing is minimal and he listens to us . I am not one for bribery or rewards ( however you classify this) but after seeing the pleasant effect it had on a otherwise unpleasant time I am a believer.
3. Comfy clothes...and lots of them. Last Christmas my son arrived in Dallas in his PJs at 3pm because he'd gone through every other outfit. 2 explosive diapers before we even boarded our plane frazzled even me, who is usually unfazed. I was praying he'd make it to Texas dressed!
4. Variety of Activities. This of course depends on the age of your child but last year we had a boat load of stickers for my son to peel off and add to a notebook, stories and a magnetic doodle pad. This year the same notebook, my ipod touch loaded with a few of his favorite tv episodes and fun games as well as books.
So even if your child is THAT kid, don't let the stares get you down. We have all been there and if you try thee tips at least people can't say you didn't try!