I find myself struggling to make sense of the story that made headlines recently in which a mother with a toddler was asked to deplane after an incident with a flight attendant. I am not 100% clear on the facts so I hesitate to pass judgment on the situation, but I am convinced that there is more to this story than we all heard. It's really difficult to comprehend that a plane can be returned to the gate to remove a mother and her toddler, yet passengers can spend countless hours trapped on a plane on a runway - just doesn't all connect for me.
The one thing that rings out loud and clear to me is that it is up to parents to be accountable for their children when traveling. It is the responsibility of the adults traveling with little ones to make certain that they have what is needed for a plane ride because there is absolutely nothing on board an airplane to help you, to help your child. Bring everything that you anticipate needing during a 24 hour period. This includes food, diapers, juice, formula, a change of clothes, medication and a boredom bag.
I make a boredom bag for my kids from a hanging travel cosmetic case. Fill each pocket with an age-appropriate activity. For example, books on tape, electronic hand held games, self contained craft kits and special surprises for the kids to open in flight. Hang it from the seat back in front of where your child is seated so he can easily access his things.
Technology to the Rescue
Most kids are technically sophisticated, and I am not against making technology a travel friend. Portable DVD Players, lap tops computers and IPOD's are all good ways to keep your children entertained in flight. Just make sure to bring along headphones so you don't disturb your fellow travelers.