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Kids, Airplanes & the Happy Hour Effect

I am honored to be participating in the blog tour for Kristen K. Brown's new book The Happy Hour Effect: Twelve Secrets to Minimize Stress and Maximize Life. In this book, Brown writes with great insight on a topic that affects us all, and particularly at this time of year: Stress. Stress. I'm feeling it this morning. We head to South Carolina in a few hours for Thanksgiving with my family. And I am so excited because the whole Donnelley family - all 5 sisters, our families, and Mom - will be gathered. This doesn't happen too often these days and I am giddy.

But. First, there is the travel part. And I've mentioned it here before but my tiniest creature is not an A+ travel babe. She is more like a D- travel babe. (F seems unduly harsh.) In any event, I am hoping that she has matured since our last flight, but I'm not holding my breath. And I am bringing with me an emergency stash of Dum-Dums.

Anyway, apologies if any of you reading happen to be on our flight. I will likely be the one wrestling with a tiny and freakishly strong toddler and trying to shove a small lollipop in her mouth to stifle the screams. Speaking of coping strategies, Brown actually has a great and practical list of how to keep our little ones happy on an airplane. I shall be mentally consulting the following list again and again today.

8 Ways to Keep a Kid Happy On an Airplane by Kristen K. Brown

Parents often forget that kids get stressed out too. A new environment, travel or new routine can make children cranky and even cause illness. Below are some tips that can help ease one of the biggest stressors for kids (and parents) – airplane travel. My daughter is almost six now but these tips have been invaluable for me the last few years.

  1. Stockpile a bunch of new toys and games your child hasn’t seen before and pull them out periodically during the trip
  2. Have a variety of snacks available.
  3. Bring a portable DVD player with headphones or an iPod loaded up with favorite television shows and movies.
  4. Bring ColorWonder paints and markers. They only show up on special paper and don’t make a mess.
  5. Keep a written and/or video journal of the trip with your child including drawings, stories and pictures.
  6. If your child is under two years old and you can afford it, buy them their own seat. You will be glad to have the extra space and it will make naps and meals a lot easier.
  7. Have favorite blankets and stuffed animals in your child’s own backpack or bag.
  8. If all else fails, walk the aisles. Fellow passengers would rather have a quiet child walking than a crying child stuck in their seat.

Oh how I wish I read this months ago when we made the genius decision not to get Little Girl her own seat! Anyway, I implore you to snap up this practical tome on how to better cope with the stressors that are endemic to modern life. Would make for a great stocking stuffer, no? And keep your fingers crossed that our travels today are super-smooth. (Ha.)

Kristen K. Brown is a bestselling and award-winning author, widow mom, speaker and founder of Happy Hour Effect. Check out her books “The Best Worst Thing” and “The Happy Hour Effect: 12 Secrets to Minimize Stress and Maximize Life” at www.HappyHourEffect.com.

 Do you feel stress in your life and particularly during the holiday season? Will you be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday? Any sage thoughts on traveling with tiny people?

Thanksgiving 2012

Ten Questions @ Ten Months