I have had some people ask me how we survived the 2 week training with two kids under the age of 5, one with special needs. Here are our little secrets that might help others going to training, or even just vacation.
- Gummy Bears. These little treats are fantastic for take off and landing when flying with kids. Deeds loved them and figured out they helped his ears pop so asked for them as soon as he felt the pressure change, even before I would notice it. I’m sure any gummy candy would work but we used the bears. Also if you are wondering if you can get them through security the answer is yes.
- Use the disposable coffee cups with the lids as makeshift sippy cups in a pinch. We did this everyday for breakfast with juice since we didn’t bring one with us and it was FANTASTIC for the 2-year-old. Yes it will still spill but as long as she didn’t toss it on the ground it made it so we didn’t have to help her with every sip she took.
- iPad, I know this isn’t an option for everyone but we loaded up the iPad with some new apps and some of the kids favorite movies and PBS Kids shows. Also if you can afford it get noise canceling headphones for the kids. We couldn’t but Gwen wouldn’t even watch a show unless Grandma let her use the ones she brought. Once she had them she watched a movie happily during the long flights.
- Sticker books, Magnetic Tanagrams, and coloring books. Each kid had their own little backpack and we got a lot of little things that Deeds calls “Airplane toys” because we only let him have them on the plane. Even now that we are home they are all zipped up in a bag waiting for the next time we need them on a long road trip or plane ride. This way it’s always new and fun.
- See if there is someone local that you can borrow a car seat from. We had a friend in the area drop off a car seat for us at the rental car place before we even landed. It was fantastic to have it waiting for us and then we didn’t have to pay for renting one. Another option is to just buy the cheap boosters from Wal-mart when you get to your destination and then donate it before you go home.
- Things from home. We made sure we had the things Deeds needed from home even if it meant another suitcase. Blankie, pillow, sock monkey and sock mouse. For Gwen we just took her blanket but for a special needs kid something small like that can mean the difference between sleeping or being awake all night.
- Pack your meds in your carry on, along with a change of clothes for at least the kids. We had to use the pants we had packed as “extra” for both the kids during the flights.
- Take along a kids CD or put the music on a device you can hook up in the car. Having familiar things like that helped us during drives to and from the training building.
- We also wheeled Gwen through the airport by having her sit on a carry on and hold on tight. You REALLY need to pay attention if you do this so they don’t tumble off and hit their head, but it worked well for us.
- We put Deeds in autism t-shirts when traveling so the TSA and everyone else would realize why he might be freaking out if it came to a meltdown. He was great but it was a good backup. We also made sure he had his medical alert bracelet on with our phone number on it.
I can’t think of any other ideas we had now but if I remember anything I’ll add it later.