Living in a small town we know everyone and everyone knows us. How do you explain strange danger to a child who has never met a stranger? Thus, my husband and I designed Airport Rules. Three simple rules that cover a lot of issues associate with large public spaces.
Airports are massive exciting places for small children. My boys loved watching all the trucks move around on the tarmac, planes touching down and people strolling to and fro on moving sidewalks.
I, on other hand felt stressed and hyper vigilant about who was around me and where my children were at all times.
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Basic Airport Rules for Children
“What is my name? “ I asked my five year old. “Mom,” he said looking at me quizzically.
Airport Rule Number One
Teach your children your full name, phone number, and an emergency name and number. If they are not old enough attach a tag somewhere in their clothing that has all that information. You could even use cute ones like these!
Airport Rule Number Two
Stay together. I miss the days of the stroller when I could just strap them in and not worry. As the older one became a walker I adjusted the rule to “you must be able to touch the stroller at all times.”
As they both began to walk I bought little roller bags. This anchored them. They could not run very fast dragging the roller bag and I also put yummy snacks and loveys in their bags. “Pony is depending on you to get him on the plane,” I would tell the youngest, “he sure does not want to be left at the airport without you.”
My main phrases at this late elementary school stage are:
“If you can’t see me, I can’t see you.” “I want to get to _________ with you.”
Bring lots of treats, special games and rewards for good behavior. These are great bargaining chips for when you must have their attention and obedience.
Airport Rule Three
Lastly, make sure you go over instructions for the kids if they get separated from you.
- Stay where you are.
- Be sure to stay in a public place. “Public” can be a hard concept so explain it to your child before you travel.
- Look for a person in uniform and ask for help. (we pointed out uniformed people for weeks before we travel)
- Do not leave with anyone.
- Have someone bring a phone to you, don’t walk away to find one with some one.
Tell your kids the truth without scaring them about how dangerous an airport and can be.
We would start by how much we loved them and did not want to ever lose them. Warn them that if they wander off or hid somewhere you might never find them again in such a big place.
Preparation and Expectations
When the boys were young we practice airport rules in other places. Even the grocery store will do! Taking the time to meet and talk with uniformed workers each time you see them can help take that fear away for the kids, and give them the confidence to approach airport security if they need help.
I travel with my boys by myself a lot. Early in their lives we read a book a called Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld, this book set the tone for each person getting a day where they got to make all the decisions. Where to go, what to eat, what games to play etc. I reserve airport days as Mommy Yes Days. This means I get to make all the choices without any flack. Now I can say, “hey, fellas, this is Mommy’s Day and they normally comply with my request. For more on how to make Mommy Yes Days Work for you hop over to the joyous family blog.
Talk about the airport rules over dinner for a few weeks before you go. Talk about how fun and exciting it will to go on the trip. Weave in your behavior expectations while traveling. Have each child ask questions and explain back to you what they should do if a situation arises.
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