A recent flight was marred by any airline traveler's nightmares: a two-hour delay, snack (two crackers, a sliver of cheese and an apple), a full plane, lots of heat and three screaming toddlers.
While well-meaning, the toddlers' parents didn't follow one of the commandments of parenthood: "Be ready for boredom."Boredom strikes kids who are traveling by plane, car, bus, boat and train, and in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists. Major attacks can occur in restaurants and lines for movies or museums.
It occurs just about anywhere there is a lack of room to play and lack of sensory stimulation. Organized parents plan for disaster.
In the case of my flight, each of the parents had a favorite stuffed animal but after about 15 minutes of pattycake and a snack, the kids were left with nothing to do but climb on their seats, run back and forth down the aisle, aggravate the other passengers and cry.
Whenever there is a potential for boredom, simple planning will ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
First, always schedule travel, appointments, even trips to a restaurant to coincide with the child's schedule. Beginning an adventure when your child is cranky or hungry is stupid.
Next, schedule in delays. Assume it will take longer to get there than planned and expect disasters.
Finally, take along projects, activities and food to keep your child content. That means planning activities geared to the age of the child involved. An older child may be content with a book and a piece of fruit.
A toddler has a short attention span and may require a bagful of tricks and snacks.Consider activities: puzzles, sticker books, crayons, disappearing slates, games, activity books, even a tape recorder.