You're boarding a plane with one or more small children. Don't deceive yourself. This experience is bound to be a few clowns short of a circus (minus the cotton candy and delighted audience). Gone are the days of lazily perusing magazines while you wait for your cocktail and peanuts. Say hello to madness and mayhem.
Instead of spending the entire trip freaking out as your little acrobats attempt to lick every surface in a 5-foot radius and sing Old MacDonald at top volume while your 87-year-old seatmate covers her ears and mutters obscenities under her breath, adjust your expectations. Traveling with small children is supposed to be Big Top-style entertainment. Don't expect any less.
With the right amount of planning and preparation, there are still plenty of things you can do to make your trip a little less of a side show and more relaxing for everyone. First things first, come armed and dangerous. And by that, we mean full of dangerously awesome in-flight entertainment for kids.
Make traveling less stressful by checking the TSA guidelines ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is show up to the gate with a gang load of items in your carry-on that are not allowed. Currently, medications, baby formula and food, breast milk and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the standard 3.4 ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Consider bringing a collapsible single or double stroller that can quickly and easily transport your little ones through the terminal. Not to mention, this is also a great way to cut down tiny toddler escape artists.
Before you travel, check TSA rules to ensure they haven't changed. Tossing bottles of liquid at the airport is no fun for anyone!
Last, but not least, be flexible. Traveling can be a stressful experience for anyone, young or old. If your little ones are acting out of sorts, do your best to stay calm and be understanding. And if all else fails, you can always bring along a couple bottles of Children's Nyquil. Those will definitely do the trick. (Kidding!)
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