Friday, January 29, 2010

Flying with toddlers: going the distance

Guest blogger Emma Folz recently returned from a trip to Perth, Australia with her easy-going (lucky her!) 11 month old. Here are some of her insights in to flying around the globe with little ones.

The Journey

* Planning is everything. We booked our flights early and were able to get bulk head seats on all our long-haul flights. Having that extra space in front of you is very helpful for both you and your young ones.
* Break up the flight
. Don’t try to do it all in one trip. Stay for 1-2 days at each connection point or after the long haul portion to have some time off the plane and get some decent sleep. We had a 15 hour flight from Vancouver to Sydney and then a 4 hour flight to Perth. Having 2 days in Sydney helped get us adjusted and made it easier on 11-month-old Joah
Pack a sling and a baby carrier in your carry on. Also, a small umbrella stroller can be checked at the gate on most airlines. I used them all at different times for different reasons
Sleep Training. Teach your baby to go to sleep in your arms with a trusted nursery rhyme before the trip. It will pay off on the plane
Safety. We took both the Baby B'Air and CARES harness
Toys and books. We packed a set of stacking cups and some plastic blocks which turned into many play combinations and doubled up as bath toys. We also packed a hand puppet. The plastic emergency instructions and paper bag in the airplane seat pocket were also a big hit. Lift-the-flap and pop-up books gave hours of delight
Carry on what you need, but not more. Take a good-sized carry on for your baby items: food, toys, diapers, wipes, creams, medications, clothes and books are critical. Don’t feel like you have to fill the bag right up, this will come in handy when you are looking for items quickly. Pack similar items in separate mesh or plastic bags within your carry on. Take lots of plastic shopping bags or ziplock bags for garbage etc.


  • Sleep before! We didn’t keep our son up late in the nights leading up to the flight. Let them get as much sleep and rest as they can prior to the journey.
  • Have a good sleep routine. I truly believe in a good sleep routine at home, which translates in to a good sleep routine when you are away. After bath, milk, teeth and storytime, it was clearly evident to our son that it was bedtime… time to sleep all night.
  • Adjusting to jet-lag. The first three nights, if Joah woke up and wouldn’t go straight back to sleep, we allowed him one hour of play and some milk (no food) before back-to-bed. After that, it was non-negotiable; he had to go back to sleep. It only took 2-3 days for him to adjust. It was easier to adjust going east-west, harder coming back this way!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter in the Rockies

If you are looking for something a little different to do next weekend, then head to Lake Louise on January 22-24th for the Ice Magic Festival. You can watch the ice carvers at work at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and vote for your favourite masterpiece. You can even try your hand at ice carving at the Little Chippers Festival in Lake Louise Village. There's also magic show taking place inside the Chateau. Click here for more information.

If your kids are old enough, bring your ice skates along for some fun on the ice rink on the lake in front of the Chateau.

The Olympic torch arrives in Banff on January 20 and moves on to Lake Louise on January 21. A number of activities are planned around these events, too. Admission to Banff National Park is free on Wednesday, January 20 in celebration.

Need to rent some baby gear for your trip to the mountains? Check out our website at Little Traveller for some great winter equipment that will make travelling with kids easier. We have snack trays for the road trip, a variety of baby carriers including backpacks and baby slings, and even snowsuits in a variety of sizes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Favourite Christmas Gifts

Our two children (aged 5 and almost 2) got some great gifts this Christmas. All of these would work well on a trip away from home and they are all fairly low-tech and easy to pack. Here are our top hits of 2009:

Pink and blue LEGO digital camera
huge hit with my 5-year-old daughter. And it's inexpensive enough to buy for a special trip, too. There's nothing like seeking out interesting objects to take pictures of to relieve the boredom of airports or restaurants or when forced to spend several days cooped up at home because it's too cold to go outside... It comes in a red/yellow/blue colour scheme, too.

"You Choose" by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharrat
A great book for any age, my 5 year old and 23 month old love looking at this together and because it's interactive you can "read" it over and over again. A fantastic book to share with your kids and stimulate the imagination, and a brilliant book to take along on a trip.

Maisy's Amazing Big Book of Words by Lucy Cousins
My 23 month old, who is just learning to talk, loves Maisy. This book is choc full of classic Lucy Cousins illustrations and includes flaps on every spread. My daughter also loves searching for Panda on every spread.

Little Doctor's Kit
Again, a big hit with both children. My five year old has received these in the past but the new one included a surgeon's dress-up outfit and some real band-aids and bandages that has kept the two of them busy for hours already. There's something about giving doll/sister/mum/dad a pretend injection that never seems to get boring.

Fairies: Petal people you make yourself by Rachel Haab/Klutz
This is some serious crafty fun for girls (and parents, too!). Once we'd made a couple of fairies, my daughter was off in a world of make-believe with them. The product is recommended for eight year olds and up and my 5-year-old daughter needed a fair bit of help with the fiddly gluing, but that's what I love about crafts: everyone gets involved. Klutz make a wide range of crafty sets so if you have boys, check out the Klutz website for more info.

Ease yourself into the new year!

Happy new year! We spent a quiet new year's eve this year at home with the kids tucked up in bed sound asleep. I confess that I, too, was snoozing well before midnight. At almost 30 weeks pregnant, I'm trying to bank up as much extra sleep as I can before baby number 3 comes along in March. (I don't think this is a scientifically proven system, but it feels so good!)

I started the year as I mean to go on in more ways than one. I enjoyed a prenatal massage today at Inner Balance Spa in Kensington. It was a relaxing way to spend an hour safe in the knowledge that it was also doing my achy lower back some good. My therapist was Margaret -- an experienced prenatal practitioner. I've had many massages, but this was the first time I'd experienced an abdominal massage. She also showed me a couple of simple stretches to do at home that will help relieve lower back tension.

Massages aren't just for pregnany mummies of course. If you're a Calgarian or just visiting the city for a few days, I recommend carving out some "me-time" for a visit with an RMT. There's no better treatment for the stiff back that comes from sitting on an airplane for long periods, carrying big babies around, or just generally being run ragged all day long. An hour will cost around $80.

There are many great spas in Calgary. I recommend Inner Balance close to the Kensington Safeway and Prema Sai. Check out their web sites for more info.