These videos and articles focus on things that fuel my energy- global experiences, loved ones, and life learnings.
Question- Do we need to travel with car seats? It becomes so tedious.... what is required?
Lakshmi’s Learning- I will address this question based on “international travel” versus domestic US. The short answer to this question is... it depends on baby’s age (e.g. 9 month old versus 3 year old), country rules, and your comfort as parents.
Please note that 1) some countries do not mandate car seats (does not mean that is good, but requirements do vary around the world) OR 2) they only require car seats for residents (e.g. you don’t need car seat in taxi).
My recommendation is: we traveled internationally with our car seat before our first daughter was 1 year old (our first child = extra cautious). After that- we would read the local country laws and decide (we never traveled with car seats again- just would decide how to handle as needed locally).
IF the country requires car seats, we either rent them with car OR they have car seat rental...
Question- How do we manage kids jet lag with a time zone difference? How long does it take?
Lakshmi’s Learning- We have done this many times during our travels which have included everything ranging from: -3 hours to +16 hours... and of course, made mistakes and learned along the way. Here is an “optimal” way... and we adults have to do it too. (We are in Australia now +16 hours from US eastern time zone)
The recommendation is simple- once you are in the new time zone- everyone stay on that new time zone! Even if everyone is exhausted and it’s 5pm- do not go to sleep. Stay up, walk around, do fun things, exhaust yourselves and the kids! IF everyone needs a little nap after lunch time- then fine (2-3 hours max). But do not make that 5 hours- then you will struggle with waking up in middle of the night (I learned this earlier this year while in Dubai- I too took a 5 hour afternoon nap with the kids and they were up in the middle of the night).
Question- Does vacation = no routine? It can become hard to adjust back when we return home.
Lakshmi’s Learning- Well- that does not have to be the case. When you are away- you can still keep important aspects of your “home routine” while also embracing vacation mode (traveling too is a life education and experience no matter where you go—- don’t forget that!). The term “routine” is multifaceted for kids with nap times, eating, school work, bath time, certain activities, etc.
I will address one aspect- “school work” (in the case of my kids- it’s still only preschool). For us- practicing writing/coloring/reading/math are a daily routine. Especially reading at night before bedtime (and separate books for each of them). We do that everyday no matter where we are (important- try to pack paperback books versus hard cover to minimize weight)!
And I have my kids pack their books, pencils/crayons, and school work....
#dontrun A special post today... Happy Birthday to my niece Rima. We adore you!
Question- How can my kids not run around in public? In different directions? I can’t chase them! What do I do?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Who remembers the old “chu chu train” game? Well, even with all the advancements we have made with new games and technology— these #oldschool games are still so much fun and kids love them!! Remember- your kids don’t know it’s old school.... a game is a game!!! Even if you have one kid- you can follow OR lead in front.
I use this to board flights (I travel a lot with them alone), walk through airports (no holding hands), and take them out in public. It quickly can transform a potential yelling scene (me screaming at kids to stop running around) into a fun game of listening.
Stay tuned for more from my girls where we will talk about airplane entertainment!
Here is Part 2 of the #airplanegame as told by my daughters. And it worked this weekend- we had such a smooth flight and naps!
Question- How can kids sit still on a plane? How can I get them to want to sleep?
Lakshmi’s Learning- As previously mentioned, preparation can play an integral role for a smooth flight. Here are my girls sitting on the “pretend airplane” at home.
Shyla repeats the rules from the captain (no screaming, no crying, no jumping, no kicking, and no whining— these are essential). Then my younger daughter Shriya says the critical line- “It’s time to sleep”!!! Guess she listens well to all the times I have said it. When playing the game at home- integrate pretend sleep and it can translate to sleep on the plane. Remember- kids learn routines just like nap time. Stay tuned for more from my girls where we will talk about airplane entertainment!
A throwback to Shriya’s first birthday.
We spent time in Barcelona with the Amruthur family and of course, the Natarajan parents! Family is awesome and it’s a blessing to travel together for birthdays.
Question: Can toddlers/kids enjoy “famous sights” such as monuments, places of worship, and museums?
Lakshmi’s Learning: Yes, they can! We found that monuments (e.g. structures like the Colosseum in Rome) and places of worship (churches, temples, mosques) are a hit.
From their perspective, these places are open areas to walk around versus paying attention to a tour. Trying to formally tour a museum (e.g. Louvre in Paris) requires more of an attention span. It’s definitely doable, but will feel rushed!
And when none of this works, I am sure the kids will find pigeons to chase and be very happy!
What are your favorite travel experiences with your family?
One of the questions I always receive from EVERYONE I speak to is... “How do you and the kids survive the flights - whether short or long?”
My Insights: Here is an introduction of a series of videos that I will share on how my kids prepare for their flights and do not act out on planes. They have been great (majority of the time) and I do consider them “experts”. They have been on hundreds of flights across the US and 5 continents! Longest flight to date was 20+ hours to Thailand.
You may wonder, how is this possible? Welcome to the airplane game which we have been playing for years!
So, who wants to learn more???
A throwback to our first international trip with a newborn!
At only 6 weeks old, our first daughter, Shyla visited the US and British Virgin Islands. I often receive questions from many parents on how we (and me alone) travel so frequently with our toddlers - what to pack, where to go, what medicines should we take, do we need a car seat, first class or economy, entertainment on the plane, managing jet jag, controlling tantrums, and the list goes on!
Guess what - you will be able to manage all of this and create these experiences for your family too!!! Stay tuned for insights to all these questions plus so much more!
Remember, traveling doesn’t stop when you have kids, it actually has a new beginning!!
Download this FREE CHECKLIST on guidelines for traveling with children on a plane during the pandemic.