Travelling with Younger Children
Travelling with very young children, who are still in diapers (nappies) and on milk only, is relatively easy as long as you remember to keep an ample supply of disposable nappies (diapers), and a couple of changes of clothing available. Air travel is quite dehydrating, so take a bottle of boiled water with you, even if you are breast-feeding, as babies can get quite thirsty because of the dry atmosphere in the 'plane. Do give babies and very young children something to drink as the plane takes off and lands as this will reduce the discomfort in their ears, because drinking causes swallowing, which helps to equalise pressure in the ears. If your baby is on bottle feeds, mix a few bottles before boarding the plane. Heat by putting in a jug of hot water, generally obtainable from the cabin crew. I would advise against handing over the child's bottle to heat as you can be left with a hungry baby and a bottle which is going to take the next hour to cool sufficiently for the baby to drink.
Slightly older children will also need something to suck as the plane changes altitude. Lollipops, although bad for teeth, are good for helping children cope with the changes in altitude. While babies will sleep for most of the journey, toddlers need to be gainfully occupied at least for part of the time. Air-line provided goodies generally keep toddlers happy for at least fifteen to thirty minutes, so be prepared with stories to read together, peel off sticker books, a favourite soft toy, and crayons and plenty of drawing paper. When travelling 4"x 6" sized paper is a convenient size. Finger puppets are fun and easy to carry. Games which require a large playing area, or that have lots of small and easily lost pieces are more trouble than they're worth. Koosh balls are wonderful things to play with in airport lounges as they do not roll and are not too hard on those who get hit by them accidentally.
Make sure that you have your child's favourite toys, books and games with you. Do not pack them in your shipment. Take some photos of friends and relatives, as you will find that they help children to maintain connections. Parents who have travelled overseas with children before report that babies up to about 15 months, and slightly older children, from about 3+ to 11/12 move with ease, adjusting easily to their new surroundings. However, k12teachoverseas.com has yet to meet a parent who has had a trouble-free move with a two-year old. Teenagers either love the experience or hate it, especially if it is their first move. get them to look at "For The Kids" page for testimonials from teenagers of several nationaltities who moved overseas. Most international schools have special welcoming programs for new students and parents can be assured that their child is not going to be the only new person in the class.
If you want to know what effect living overseas is going to have on your child, or even on yourself, please look at some of the Third Culture Kids sites, which can be found in our Links page or have a look at the For The Kids page.
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