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    Parenting: How to Take Care of Kids on Airplanes

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Parenting: Is Hitting a Child Ever Ok? - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. Hi, I am Dr. Laura Markham of ahaparenting.com. Are you taking your child on an airplane soon? I know it is a situation that strikes fear into the hearts of most parents, and for good reason. You are trapped there. You cannot leave, right? And kids are known for having a hard time with being stuck in one place. But there are things you can do to make an airplane trip actually pretty painless. So let's talk about what they are. First of all, when you get to the airport, remember your child has already been in a car getting to the airport, so your child is ready to move around. So aim to get there early so you can let your child have some time to explore in the airport and walk around a lot and look at everything in the airport. And you will find that by the time your child gets on the plane, they are more ready for a nap. And at the very least, they have sort of gotten their ya-yas out a little bit and they are a little more ready to sit in one place. Never pre-board. You do not want your kid on that plane in that seat any longer than he has to be, right? So never pre-board. Once you get on the plane, you will probably have to sit down and put on a seatbelt, but the more you can walk with your kid before he is restricted to his seat, the better he will do once he is locked into his seat. Now, I always advise parents to be well-prepared in their packing. I travel a lot with my kids, and I brought on little, tiny presents. They were always wrapped so that the child could unwrap them, because kids love to do that. So, I am not talking anything expensive. I am talking chapstick. Or — here is a great one — a roll of blue painter's tape. Blue painter's tape is great. First of all, they love to take it off and play with it. You can make a tic-tac-toe board or a little decoration on the tray table. If you want some privacy with your child, or they want to build a little fort, you can tape up some light blankets or your jacket or something around where your child is, so he has his own special little place. Great to settle down and take a nap so it is not so over-stimulating. Of course you are going to bring snacks and drinks and a change of clothes for him, a change of clothes for you. Because invariably, whatever he is drinking is going to end up on your lap. And remember that the people around you have a right to have an easy flight without a child screaming, and still — so you can respect that — but there is only so much you can do about it. So you need to just breathing, stay calm. And they may feel like attacking you at points if your child is screaming his head off, but if you just say to them, "I am sorry, sometimes we have better days," they will be sympathetic to you. So the most important thing is for you to stay calm. And in fact, what we see is that when the mom can stay calm, often the child is a lot calmer as well. So good luck and enjoy your flight.