Flying, Tablets and Parenting: Oh My

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These days, it’s tough to be a parent with young kids in public spaces. Restaurants are banning kids under six, breastfeeding in public is still an issue (let’s move on people), and sometimes a simple task such as shopping with kids is frowned upon.

Recently, I went to a large supermarket that had a disproportionate number of elderly folks shopping for their groceries that day and you should have seen the number of stink-eyes that I received as my boys skipped down the grocery aisles.

With two active preschoolers, I try to do my best. I’m constantly telling (or yelling – sometimes it is hard to tell the difference) them to stop running, but the reality is that they are boys. They have energy and no matter what I do, everything is a race.

To help rein them in, I go straight for what motivates them to stop acting up. That’s why the other day, I was disappointed to read that a family got kicked off a plane because of an iPad.

Parents need to know their child’s personality and whether or not he/she can handle having their tablet taken away at a moment’s notice. We all know that airlines are sticklers for rules and regulations and quite frankly, when you board a plane with small children, there’s an automatic bullseye on your back. Why invite a troublesome situation if your child could have a negative reaction to having the tablet taken away?

Furthermore, is it really necessary to pull out the tablet prior to take off? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a parent who is passionate about tablet technology and I agree it has a huge place in our life, but not prior to take off. Toddlers need to learn patience. It is an important life skill.

Far too often, we tend to use tablet technology as a babysitter, and with good reason. It’s portable, it’s interactive, and it’s fun for kids. Let’s be honest, you probably got up at 4 a.m. and rushed everyone out the door to make it to the airport. You’re tired and are looking for moment of quiet time, so out comes the tablet. The unfortunate reality though, is that once we start to over-use the tablet as a babysitter, we’re no longer parenting.

So the next time you think about pulling out your tablet prior to take off, take a moment and try these suggestions:

1. Make up a story with your preschooler about the plane. Give it a name and have them describe the places the plane goes all over the world.

2. Talk about your experiences as a child going on family trips. Did you travel by plane, car or by boat? What was your best family vacation memory?

3. Haul out a book that you secretly purchased and read it with them.

4. Talk about where you are going. Go through the 5 W’s – who, what, where, what and why. Toddlers are curious creatures and will appreciate you sending some quality one-on-one time with them.

Now tell me – have you ever had any airplane moments with your child and their tablet? Tweet me @weebootMom or email me at weeboot@gmail.com

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