Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Traveling Alone With Both My Kids For The First Time: A Few Practical Tips That Helped
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So recently I traveled with my 1 year old and my 7 year old. We have traveled with our baby earlier, but it was always me and my hubby managing both of them. This time it was going to be just me, and I must say I had some reservations initially, but then decided what the was an airport and a flight and wouldn't be so difficult after all.

I will also add that I traveled during the Diwali holidays and the airport at Mumbai was crazily crowded. Too many people, every one had excess baggage, huge queues at the boarding pass counters and too much noise and crowd. Enough to bug even an adult, and my younger one is anyways not  fond of strangers at all, and is going through a severe separation anxiety case for the past almost 4-5 months now!

So here's a few things I did that did help me and even though it was a little difficult, it was still manageable.

1. While packing, I kept one suitcase strictly for the kids. I kept a set of spare clothes in the outer pocket that could easily be accessed at the airport once we landed. I have had problems earlier when my elder daughter was smaller and had puked on the flight, and even though I had a spare dress in my bag then, I still had to change her upon landing.

2. My younger daughter is lactose intolerant, which means she can only drink soy milk. So we always have to carry tetra packs of the brand with us anywhere we go, especially as it is not always readily available even in big cities. Airlines regulations allow only 300ml liquid in flight. My daughter however would need more. So I fed her milk just before we reached the airport and then filled her bottles with milk just before we were getting down at the airport. I also kept tetra packs of soy milk and a pair of scissors (to cut the tetra pack with) at an outer pocket in the kids' suitcase so that I could easily give her milk once we landed.

3. My younger daughter loves to eat what her sister eats and even if they are eating the same thing, she will always want to eat from her sister's plate. So I knew that this would be a problem in the flight. As soon as we boarded, I called the crew and asked them for the meal. This was also convenient for them as it would be tough to place a sudden request in between the meal service. Doing this ensured our food was with us even before we took off and the kids could eat at their own leisure.

4. I ordered a sandwich and some cookies that could be shared by both the kids and a bowl of noodles for the elder one as she was really requesting for it. Needless to say, my younger one spent most of the time in the flight nibbling at the sandwich and eating on her own. This is something she loves - eating with her own hands - and I do encourage her to do so, even in the flight.

5. I was carrying my kids' jackets in my backpack as I knew it could get cold in the flight. This is always a good idea as keeping them warm means they are happy and less cranky and do not run the risk of falling ill.

6. As I was going to my parents' place, I knew my mom would prepare some delicious home cooked food for us, especially for the kids. That angle was taken care of.

7. While traveling with two kids, one a baby, and during this holiday season, it was important that I travel light. Of course there was a lot of luggage, so I carried a backpack for myself and my older daughter was carrying her own backpack (which of course she shifted to the luggage trolley the moment I got it!) So we had these two huge bursting suitcases and a baby stroller that I got checked in at the start. Once that was done, it was only my backpack instead of a handbag. The reason I chose a backpack was that it gave me the advantage of having both hands free.

8. During take off and landing, I was feeding my daughter the soy milk that I had filled in at the time of reaching the airport. This helped ease her ear pain and there was no crying.

9. I had already pre-booked my seats - a window for my older one and a middle for me and the baby. This was a good idea as the older one was comfortable and cozy and did not feel bored...she was happy with her books and dolls that I had packed in in her backpack.

10. My younger one is 14 months old, so that means she loves to walk around and fall down and get up and walk around again. I allowed her to do so at the airport as well as inside the flight as and when possible. Also, the flight we took was at a comfortable 11am, which meant that by the time we were boarded, it was close to her nap time, and she did sleep for about half an hour in the 2 n half hour flight.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta
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