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Posts tagged ‘traveling with toddlers’

Stamps in their passport: The highs and lows of travel with children

Guest poster Sarah Ruttan on traveling with kids: "I’ve come to believe that this same idea is true for travel. Sure, we could stay close to home for the first few years. Everyone would sleep more, and lots of potential public meltdowns could be avoided. Yet, we’d be missing something along the way. Those early family trips build our family culture – they give us an opportunity to begin to teach our kids about the world around us, even if in small ways on local outings. Great moments – and memorable family stories – come from these journeys."

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Using Benadryl for Travel with a Toddler: A Cautionary Tale and a Little Science

I have a parenting confession to make.

Husband and I dosed BabyC with Benadryl during a flight last week.

In my last post, I wrote about what we got right on our trip. Now it’s time to come clean and tell you what we may have gotten wrong.

Before you jump to judgment, let me explain the situation. We were on a red-eye flight from Portland, OR to Newark, NJ. A 5.5 hour flight. This was the first time we had attempted a red-eye with BabyC. At the time that I booked the tickets, the red-eye was the best choice for several reasons, but I knew it was a gamble.

However, as our trip grew closer, I started to feel nervous. What if she wouldn’t sleep? What if the novel situation – being surrounded by strangers on an airplane and being held in our laps (we didn’t purchase her own seat) – was just too much for her?

I know that many frown upon the idea of “drugging” kids for smoother travel. To be honest, it is not something that I have ever considered before this trip. But several parents had told us that it worked for them, and we were feeling desperate. It wasn’t because we were hoping for a relaxing flight with cocktails and an in-flight movie. We just wanted BabyC to sleep for her sake and for the sake of our fellow passengers.

The Goal. BabyC was just 11 months in this photo, and at that age, sleep seemed to come easier on airplanes.

Don’t worry. We checked and double-checked the dosage. We knew that some kids have a “paradoxical reaction” to the antihistamine drugs found in Benadryl – turning hyper instead of drowsy – so we tested it out the night before our trip. We dosed her 30 minutes before bedtime, and she went right to sleep that night without a fuss, as usual, so we figured that either it helped her sleep a bit or had no effect.

On travel night, we gave BabyC the same dose of Benadryl while we waited at the gate to board our plane. It was 10 PM, several hours after BabyC’s bedtime, but she was busy watching the lights on the runway and the people around us. We figured that once we settled into our seats and the engines started, she would snuggle up and sleep restfully for the duration of the flight.

Unfortunately, this was not to be. Read more

Toddler Travel: Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned

We just returned from a trip to Vermont to visit my old high school and my grandmother’s summer cabin, which has been a part of summers in our family for some 60 years now. Our last trip as a family was a bit rough and not all that relaxing, so I was nervous about more travel, this time across the country. This trip, however, turned out to be fun for all three of us, and we all came home feeling refreshed. Why the difference? I think it was part luck, part adjusted attitude and expectations, and part experience from past trips.

I wrote a travel tips post last fall after a trip when BabyC was 11 months old, and I think I still agree with most of those. However, traveling with a 19-month-old is a bit different, and I thought I’d share some of the lessons learned along the way.

Airplane travel:

Don’t expect your toddler to nap on the plane. This used to be the holy grail of travel for me. We used to plan flights around nap time. We’d try to keep our time in the airport exciting and stimulating so that BabyC would sleep on the flight, and that actually worked pretty well most of the time. But now that BabyC is a toddler, this strategy has backfired on us a few times, and we’ve adopted a new one: Encourage sleep whenever she’s tired. It is better to board a plane with a cheerful, well-rested toddler and spend the entire flight playing games and singing songs and looking out the window than to have an over-tired, over-stimulated toddler who fights sleep with every ounce of remaining energy. When BabyC sleeps on planes, we love it, but we no longer count on it. My Two Hats published a post on Travel with Toddlers just before we left for this trip, and she included the same tip, which was a timely reminder for us.

Don’t expect an iPad to entertain a toddler for a flight. At least not my toddler. Read more