As I prepare to fly halfway across the country by myself with my two children -- a well-behaved 8-year-old and an unpredictable toddler who quickly goes from innocent to insane in about half of a second -- I've been getting a bit nervous. After reading the story of 2-year-old Natalie Vieau, who was recently kicked off of a plane for her tantrum, I'm terrified.
Blame the parents if you will, but I know that that those kind of horrific outbursts can and do happen at the worst possible times to most parents of toddlers (hopefully, especially to those smug parents who say their child would never do such a thing). No matter how sweet toddlers seem, lurking inside is a wild, uncontrollable beast just waiting to spring when you expect it least -- like as you're about to leave the runway . So as I prepare for our trip, I've come up with a six-step plan to thwart my little darling/demon from getting us booted off the plane.
I will bring the iPad, a DVD player, crayons, and stickers. I will pack new, never-before-seen books, cards, and small trinkets from the dollar store. My guess: She'll still find opening and shutting the tray table in front of her the most interesting activity.
2. Forbidden Food
Nothing will stop a temper tantrum quicker than some sugared cereal or artificially colored candy that usually doesn't enter our home. Of course, how long it lasts is dicey, and timing is everything. If used too early during a day of travel, there could be hell to pay from the sugar meltdown on the second leg of the flight.
3. Credit Card
It's always smart to make sure you have a way to buy cocktails for the folks around you. If they're buzzed, they may not put up a stink about the tray table behind them being opened and closed repeatedly. Most airlines don't take cash, and mommy may need a little something too.
4. A Big Bribe
There will be a big reward at grandma's house when/if we get all get there in one piece. I will dangle this like a carrot in front of her nose the whole journey. Of course, this also could likely result in months of tough-love parenting down the drain as I deem said bribe done/taken away/lost at least 10 times before we get there as she repeatedly commits infractions then screams so loudly that she earns it back time and again.
5. An In-Flight Nanny
While I think the idea is actually quite brilliant, I'm probably not quite ready to hire a babysitter in the sky, though I may reconsider after this flight. I may, however, pay my 8-year-old a few bucks to put down his DS for awhile and entertain her if she starts getting antsy.
I've heard it knocks them out if nothing else works. I'm kidding ... I think.
Wish us luck!
What ways do you prepare to travel with your toddler? Any ideas for ways to stop a tantrum in its tracks?
Image via ryaninc/Flickr