Photo Credit: Hanson Lu,

In my many years of being a mom, I’ve traveled with my kids across continents various times. My kids were of different ages and the trips were of different lengths.

What I found was that if a put aside my need to be comfortable and actually expected everything to be about the kids, then I was less stressed.

I was less stressed because I wasn’t trying to make things run smoothly. I was solely taking the trip minute by minute in what my kids needed.

As they slept, I’d sleep. As they happened to be active, I’d come up with games to play. As they were hungry, I’d eat as well.

I suppose this is what it’s like to be a parent in the first place. The more we live in the moment, the less stressed we are, and the more smoothly everything seems to go. We seek out a sign of silent agreementto follow the plan of the universe and not so much our own. Which makes us happier in a sense.

The more we live day by day and in the moment, the happier we get. This is what children teach us as well.

I’ve found that, when having small children, the more rigid my plans were and the more I tried to control the flow of things, the more stressed I’d get.

The thing is, in parenting, things rarely go according to plan and the more you make room for this, the less stressful it is. Especially when traveling.

There are many things you can do to make traveling easier for you and your kids and you can do research ahead of time.

  • If you have a long layover, you can research the airport to see if they have a playground in any of the terminals. When my kids were smaller, they used to run in the opposite direction on the horizontal escalators by the gates.
  • You can have your child bring their own little carry-on with crayons, games, etc. Some airlines will even give you a little activity bag on the plane.
  • Make sure you bring extra chargers for your games, etc. There are plug-ins at some gates and in the terminals, but it’s much more convenient with extra batteries.
  • Many long flights have a kids’ movie selection, but some don’t have any and you might get stuck in the terminal for a delay. I suggest bringing a movie viewing device, possibly with downloaded movies.
  • Bring lots of snacks (not drinks). They are expensive on the airplane and in the airport.
  • With children under two years of age, you don’t have to pay for a ticket, but you should be able to book a seat with a strap-on baby carrier space in front of you for your baby to sleep.
  • Be prepared to get to know everyone on the plane as you walk the aisles on long flights.
  • The short flights will hurt your smaller child’s ears, at take off and landing. The short flight ascends and descends faster. So bring gum, and possibly Tylenol to numb the pain. With breast or bottle-fed children, I’d try to plan the feeding around the take-off and landing time, to help relieve the inner ear pressure. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent the pressure and simply hug and soothe your child and expect them to be fussy at these times. Don’t mind the other passengers. They can deal with it for a little while and most people actually sympathize with a child in pain.
  • Make sure you take your older toddler to try to go potty before the plane leaves, so you don’t end up with a wet seat at take-off.
  • If your child’s big enough, give them a whistle in their backpackif they somehow get lost, they can stop and blow the whistle so you can find them.
  • Write your phone number and name on the arm of your child so the staff can alert you overhead or on the phone, if your child gets lost at the airport.
  • Let your child know what a staff member looks like and to go get one if they get lost.
  • You may want to bring extra small blankets and blow-up neck pillows for the flight so your kids can sleep across the seat (yes, normally on you).
  • Pack your carry-on as if you’d lost your luggage for a day or two. Unexpected layovers happen and luggage does get lost.

Lastly, expect things to not go smoothly. Try to teach your child to approach it all as an adventure.

I remember getting stuck in Chicago at 11 pmfor 24 hourswith two kids, by myself. The most memorable moment for my daughter of that whole Europe trip was ordering pizza at one in the morning from the hotel and playing mini-golf at the pier in Chicago the next day.

Sometimes the unexpected happensand many times this is the most memorable experience.

Sofie is a Certified Professional Coach, children’s book author, world traveler, pediatric nurse, and mother of two.

Her passion’s to help empower children to lead whole-hearted, passionate, and fierce lives and to help parents really own their role as a leader of their family so they can empower their kids and have a life of joy and connection.

Have you ever wondered how different your life might have been, had your parents known how to empower you to follow your heart and inner guidance, to live with integrity, take risks worth taking, believe in yourself, choose love over fear, have self acceptance, set goals and intentions, and work towards your dreams and desires with passion and grit?

You can do this for your child, partly by incorporating these ideas in your own life.

If you think you might want to work with Sofie you can check out her page or schedule a free discovery session.

You can also check out her picture books, helping children prepare for medical procedures.

Follow her on Facebook, where she’ll give many free offerings and tips and ideas on parenting and how to empower children.

Photo Credit: Hanson Lu,