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There are so many solutions to overcome our most common fears…
Afraid of public speaking? Join Toastmasters or take improv classes.
Afraid of networking? Take a friend to an event and make a few new ones.
Afraid of asking your boss for a raise? Research, role play and present your case.
Fear is a natural part of life and at times, it helps us protect our families (Hold hands across the street! Buckle up! Lock the door!). But for some reason, there aren’t many solutions to overcome fear as parents, especially when it comes to being out and about with our kids. Whether it’s errands around town or big trips, many of us simply avoid what we fear most…
Afraid kids will cause trouble at the store? Shop online or at night.
Afraid kids won't behave when eating out? Order in.
Afraid kids won’t sleep away from home? Just cancel the trip.
When we have kids, it's tempting to put off what we once enjoyed most (Trader Joe's treasure hunts, favorite restaurants, parent-picked vacations) until the kids are big. But experts say the more we avoid what we fear most, the more our fear grows. And the more we worry about the bad, the more we will miss out on the good. Experts also say the best way to overcome fear is to acknowledge it. Put a plan together and practice overcoming it. Get better at it. Then do it until you’re not afraid anymore.
Best-selling self-help author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls one helpful technique to overcome all this “fear-setting.” It's a quick exercise and a system to thrive in high-stress environments. (You know, like an extra-long plane ride with your extra-loud two-year-old.)
Step one: Define
Define the fear. What is the worst that can happen? Write it down. Write down aaaall the most terrifying scenarios. While being stuck on a plane with the very active two-year-old, I could run out of snacks. I could run out of activities. I could skip nap time. I could be kicked off the plane. I could see myself in online headlines after my kid screams, non-stop, for eight hours. Anything could happen.
Step two: Prevent
Plan what you’ll do to prevent each scenario from happening… For my traveler-in-training, I’ll pack a few more long-lasting snacks or tell the flight attendant to keep the candy cart closeby. I’ll bring some amazing toys, stickers and bubbles. I’ll teach my sweet pea to sleep in different places before the trip so when nap time hits, he's ready to snooze on or under the seat. I can make friends with my flight attendants and fellow passengers so they're less likely to kick us off or take incriminating videos...
Step three: Repair
Ponder how to fix it or how to ask for help if the worst does happen… I can ask the flight attendant on call for the biggest bag of gummy bears she's ever seen. I can ask her for cups, napkins and stir sticks so my travel buddy and I can build the airline's tallest seat-back tray tower. I can spend some scream time in the bathroom to give fellow passengers a few minutes of peace and quiet, or be glad about it when I'm kicked off the plane so I don’t have to hear “are we there yet?” again.
You get the idea.
When we go through this exercise, we might find there isn’t as much to worry about after all. When we face what we’re afraid of, our confidence grows and we become unstoppable as parents. And when we're fearless, we can do more with our kids than we thought was possible before.
The benefits of travel with kids are limitless. But so can be our packaging lists! Leave behind what you don't truly need so your hands can be free to carry kids or hold their little hands instead.
Why BYOB when you can borrow or build kids’ beds that are better than the latest portables? If you’ll stay with a baby at a hotel or with friends, call ahead to borrow a pack 'n' play or crib. You can also create a crib with a cozy blanket in a drawer or an arm chair turned against the wall. For toddlers and bigger kids, creative furniture placement creates perfect siesta spots. Check out our Build-A-Bed Tips, and our Hotel Setup Guide to make sure everyone can snooze, even when in the same room.
2. Heavy stroller
If you're traveling with a baby, a carrier might be all you need. For infants, sport your baby in a snuggly wrap like the Baby K’tan. For bigger babies, opt for something with more support to wear on the front or back like the Boba Air or Baby Bjorn. If you do need a stroller for an on-the-go snoozing spot or bigger kids, choose one that’s light, easy to fold, and sturdier than the standard umbrella stroller like single and double versions from Jeep and Kinderwagon.
3. Too many diapers
Bring enough for the trip and any emergencies, including extra-long layovers. A day’s worth will do the trick for shorter and overnight trips. Then either send them to your destination via Amazon or buy what you need when you arrive at your destination to save valuable space along the way.
4. Daily outfits
Most kids pick favorites when it comes to outfits and don’t mind wearing the same thing a time or ten. Take advantage of this when you’re traveling by packing their favorite separates to mix, match and layer. The standard three tops, three bottoms and over items like cardigans, sweaters and coats go a long way. For girls, dresses work in warm or cold weather when combined with a top layer and leggings or tights. Use packing cubes to create a compact clothes capsule for each kid in checked luggage, and be sure to carry on pjs for overnight flights with extra bottoms for tots potty training. Then plan to do a load of laundry or hand wash key items in the sink along the way.
5. New shoes
Make sure the shoes you bring are well worn in so that kids can cover lots of ground. Two pairs should be plenty, including running/walking shoes and another for special weather like boots for snow and rain or sandals for balmy weather. The best kids’ footwear can be dressed up or down to coordinate with your mix-and-match outfits.
Most of us pack enough travel snacks to face an apocalypse, especially when we fly with kids. Try to pack just a few snacks for on the way so you can make meals a fun part of the journey and enjoy local fare when you get there. Also, check out our Favorite Travel Snacks.
With complete libraries accessible on ipads and e-readers, reading and coloring on the go is easier than ever. Download favorite stories with art, music and learning apps. You’ll have activities for on the way and favorite stories to stick with bedtime routines wherever you may be, too.
8. Car seat
Even the lightest car seats can add another ten pounds to your already heavy load. If you can, leave car seats at home. Rent upon arrival or if you can, stick with public transportation. Trains, subways, buses and boats are friendlier for the environment and for you. You’re more likely to familiarize yourself with a new city via subway or see the countryside from a train, all while meeting locals along the way. Plus, for kids, trains, planes and buses are more fun than the same old car any day.
The most important thing to leave behind is fear. Think of your trip as an adventure to experience together. Then organize only what you really need, and envision traveling with confidence. You can do this! Parts of the trip might not be easy, but it will all be worth it.
6 secrets to help kids sleep anywhere
Psst! Want to know a secret? Kids can sleep anywhere. It just takes a little prep. We’ve all heard horror stories about parents losing sleep while away from home or missing family vacations all together because their kids just don’t sleep well. You know what? Friends don’t let friends miss out on vacations. So here are a few more secrets to make siestas more likely...
When babies are born, they can and do sleep anywhere (typically 16 to 17 hours a day!). It’s only later when they’re trained to sleep in the same place that they have trouble sleeping out of their comfort zones. As parents, we can teach kids to sleep on cue starting when they’re small, or if we miss the window, we can start small with sleep-anywhere training sessions. Try helping kids sleep beyond their beds. Take them places during naptime, move a pack ‘n’ play to different rooms, spend the night at friends and families’ houses. Also practice sleeping on the go by being out and about at naptime. Try all scenarios before you hit the road so kids are ready to snooze while away from home.
Baby experts discourage sleep props that require you and your presence (think nursing, rocking or swinging to sleep), but a few strategic and short-term sleep association items will help train your sweeties for the long-run. Try equipping your tiny one with a swaddle, pacifier and the same soft blanket whenever it’s nap or bedtime. Then avoid Linus- and Maggie Simpson-style blanket and pacifier use and only pull them out when it’s time to rest. Later, take away the pacifier (we recommend taking it away at a year so it doesn’t interfere with teeth), but keep the blanket in their bed (wherever their bed may be).
Prep the piggies
The National Sleep Foundation and the International Weekly Journal of Science both report warm feet are scientifically proven to help you fall asleep faster. Heating cold feet causes blood vessel dilation, which signals bedtime to the brain. For babies, make sure they have with a warm sleeper or sleep sack to keep their feet snug. For older kids, prep their piggies with magic “sleepy socks” that match their pjs (and get them into the right frame of mind). Later, feel free pull out the sleepy socks on planes, trains or car rides when it’s time to rest.
Pick a routine
No matter where you might be, stick to your at-home routines. The basics are fine. For naptime, maybe it’s a bathroom break or diaper change and a story. For bedtime, a warm bath and lavender lotion (psychological relaxation techniques), brushing teeth, a story and/or a song to signify the end of the day. Bring travel-size bath essentials and a tiny book or two so you can simulate the experience of being on the way to dreamland anywhere, anytime.
Block the bright
Kids are less likely to fall asleep if they can see you’re still having an awesome time. Block the view by putting babies in a pack ‘n’ play or crib in another room or if you’re in a hotel, in a closet or a bathroom. For kids, check out our BYOB (build your own bed) tutorial to create a separate spot or cocoon for them. When they fall asleep, adjust the setup to keep out bright, natural light so that they don’t wake up with the sun.
As you establish or reestablish your nap and bedtime routines, continue to challenge your sweetie’s sleep skills to keep them up to par. Move them from a pack ‘n’ play to the stroller to different beds so they’re ready to sleep everywhere from hotels to a plane, car or train. Encourage kids to carry their sleep association goodies (blanket and socks) and let them know they’re welcome to get them out once they’re settled and it’s time to snooze.
Is it just us or is this what the latest diaper bags look like?!
Small handbags have been a big fashion trend for years as clutches, cross-body bags and mini backpacks return to the runway year after year, and more women leave heavy totes behind. So why are we still hauling extra-large diaper bags? Many moms say we need the space for all our "just in case" supplies. But the extras we carry can add up and weigh us down to cut adventures with our little ones short. Here are a few hacks to lighten things up…
1. Ditch too many diapers
Take just a few if you’ll be out and about for the day and enough for a day if you’ll be flying (in case of delays). Pair with a few wipes in a travel dispenser or snack-size plastic bag and leave the rest behind. Then fill your glove compartment or carry-on with extras of everything so you’re ready to restock.
2. Scrap the snacks
Parenting experts say the “snack epidemic” is hurting kids' eating habits and their health. Help curb kids’ round-the-clock snacking with something small (a piece of fruit or a fruit strip) or nothing at all (reassure them the next meal will be that much butter as in French Kids Eat Everything).
3. Find free refills
Break free of extra bulk by taking a small to medium water or baby bottle per kid and finding refills along the way. Most restaurants either have self-serve beverage stations or are happy to fill kids' bottles. And coffee shops are a great place to stop for milk or warm water for baby bottles. Also stay tuned for small and stealthy Globetot bottles coming soon...
4. Trade out your wallet
Trade an unwieldy wallet for just your phone with a sticker pocket or case with card holder. Then take just what you need to seize the day with your phone, ID and a credit card or two.
4. Swap sanitizers
Leave behind bigger bottles of hand sanitizer and replace them with a small spray pen. They’re easier to carry and provide a perfect portion for small hands, too.
5. Slim your sunscreen
Same thing for your sunscreen. Invest in a small spray bottle to refill with liquid sunscreen or seek out a slim sunscreen stick or sunscreen wipes to stay light even when it's bright out.
6. Downsize extra outfits
Trade out multiple garments (shirt, shorts and undies can all add up) and carry a romper for each kid instead. Also be on the lookout for our Globetot adventure clothes coming soon…
7. Bring a blanket
A blanket can be a sun shade, burp cloth, clean play or crawl space, changing pad and more. Keep another in the car or your carry-on, in case one gets dirty.
8. Take only the best, tiniest toys
A few of our favorite fun and portable options are Water Wow books; playpacks (coloring books, stickers and Crayons); pull-to-vibrate toys that attach to the outside of your bag and double as a teething ring; mini bubble wands or balloons.
10. Opt for the right bag
The bigger the bag, the more likely we all are to fill it to the brim. If we start small, we're more likely to bring only what we need. Also look for a diaper bag with thicker, supportive, convertible straps so it can be worn on your back or cross-body so you can be hands-free.