I am on a plane today with my parents, Bubba, and Princess. Here are some tips to make the process smooth.
- Bring 2 changes of clothes for everyone. You never know what could happen.
- Bring toys and movies they have never played with before. If the toys are new (or new to them), it will make them more intrigued to play with them for a longer time (at least you hope)
- Bring a stroller. Seriously. Even though Bubba rarely is in a stroller, I have brought an umbrella stroller to make going from gate to gate easier.
- Try to reduce the number of bags you bring. We have one checked bag and two carry ons between the three of us.
- Bring eye masks and neck pillows (if they will help your kids sleep)
- Have newly potty trained kids in pull-ups. Bubba will be wearing pull-ups for the whole day: Even though he has not had an accidents in weeks, I don’t want to set him up for failure.
- Bring games and movies everyone will enjoy. Having two kids with a 7 year age difference can he hard. I always try to make sure there are things we can all do together when they both want my attention.
- Bring lots and lots of snacks. Also try to buy food at a restaurant in the airport so that you can eat more then snacks.
- Go to the bathroom before getting on the plane. I try to avoid airport bathrooms at all costs. There is no way to do it this trip but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.
- Relax Traveling with kids is stressful but you are making memories with your kids. Don’t worry about what others think.
I miss Z terribly. But at the same time I am so excited for his parents and so proud of how hard they worked. They still send pictures and I get to see him. Though I don’t know how long that will last I appreciate the fact that right now they are making his transition home easier on all of us (especially Bubba)
- Let them know their child’s schedule/likes and dislikes/etc. It will help the child transition and the parents will most likely be thankful. Zs parents asked me for all that information.
- Send their child with as much as you can. I’m not saying you should spend a lot of money or anything. However, when I knew Z was most likely going home I spent his stipend on clothes the next two sizes up and toys he will be ready for in a couple months.
- Let them know they can contact you with any questions. And don’t judge them for the questions they ask lol.
- Let them know that you consider them family and will support them. A lot of families part of the foster care don’t have the support they need. Offer to be that support.
- Offer to babysit. It will give them a break and you get baby cuddles.
- Invite them to family events. Zs parents came to our family Christmas. We all got to get see Z and his parents felt a sense of community.
- Continue to meet up with them in the community. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting them to your home, meet other ways.
- Be a mentor to them when it comes to parenting. Though I am not an expert on parenting at all. I have noticed that Zs parents ask me a lot of parenting questions and instead of judging them for not knowing, I support them.
- Help them find community resources. Sometimes there are resources out there that they don’t know about yet.
- Pray for them all
Things your elf on the shelf can do that don’t require you to clean up
- Have them read a book
- Literally just sit them on a shelf
- Have them bring a note from Santa with a good deed your child should do
- Have them bring a small gift
- Have them sliding down the banister
- Have them sleeping in a doll bed
- Have them making your child’s lunch (I saw this on Facebook and thought it was genius)
- Sit them on top of a fan or chandelier
- Put them in your stockings (possibly with a little treat)
- Have them write on your whiteboard. (A lot less messy than a mirror)
Some of these may already exist and if they do please send me links.
- Drive thru grocery store. Not delivery. But an actual drive thru. Like when I run out of something and don’t want to get the kids out of the car.
- In Home nail/hair service. Okay I’m pretty sure this exists but probably only for people who can afford to spend a lot of money. I would love to get my hair cut in the comfort of my own home while my children run around like crazy people.
- In door play land. Alright I know these exist too. However there aren’t enough of them that aren’t attached to a fast food restaurant. It would even be nice to have them in actual restaurants.
- Baby swimming lessons where you don’t have to get in the water. Sure it’s great bonding time but sometimes I don’t feel like it. It would be nice if they had enough instructors to take them all in.
- Doctors who come to your home. I think a few of these still exist but it would be nice if a lot more doctors did this. (Oh and had more appointments after 3 for working parents).
- Places for foster children to have visits. I am not talking about a room in the DCFS office but a place that has age appropriate toys, cribs for babies, changing tables, toddler toilets, and maybe even a kitchen to cook. Throwing kids and parents in a room isn’t giving them real family time (and don’t even get me started about McDonald’s).
- Family restrooms with changing tables and toddler potty’s. EVERYWHERE. And not just one.
- A company that does a buy one donate one to a kid in foster care. I can’t figure out what we would sell yet. But there are a lot of companies that help out other countries what about kids in our own country?!?!
- 24/7 daycare The daycare director where all my kids have gone was telling me about how she would love to open a 24/7 daycare for parents who have night shifts.
- Childcare in hotels I would love if more places did this. Especially for single parents traveling alone.
Anyone have anymore?
I posted my favorite Holiday traditions but here are my favorite things to do with my kids at home during the holidays.
- Decorate my house together. I don’t care how long it takes. Decorating the house is a family activity.
- Decorate ginger bread house. I love decorating gingerbread houses. I enjoy making it look pretty and eating all the candy. However, we are doing pre-put together gingerbread houses this year that the kids just decorate.
- Taking lots of pictures. I take pictures of everything to begin with (it’s important for me to have something to look back at when the kids have left my house). However, I go a little obsessive over Christmas. I want lots of pictures.
- Having matching outfits/pajamas. Whether it’s to go see Santa or just sit around the house, my kids have an extreme amount of holiday outfits.
- Have the elves in the shelf visit us. However, we have pretty lazy elves on the shelf, they mostly just move to different spots in our house and possibly do a couple funny things. The elves do go all out for the elf on the shelf breakfast . My parents come over and we eat a big breakfast.
- Watch Christmas movies with popcorn and hot chocolate. This is always a fun time and it’s good family time.
- Drinking hot chocolate. Drinking hot chocolate is an activity alone in my house. We have marshmallows, sprinkles, whip cream, etc.
- Read stories together. We love to read together every night. However, there is something special about reading those special Christmas books.
- Play in the snow. I love the first snow and I love to go out with my kids and see their joy.
- Making Christmas cookies. We love baking and eating Christmas cookies. Sometimes we have a baking party. But other time we just make a mess in the kitchen and have fun.