4 Critical Tips for Holiday Travel With Kids

BY: - 27 Nov '15 | Parenting

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The holidays are here and if you’re planning on traveling with kids, then you need to add these tips to your checklist. Traveling opens up a world of experience and opportunities to expose our children to. It should be fun and enjoyable.

We recently traveled as a family to Turks and Caicos, and learned some lessons along the way. So if you want to keep your sanity, here are four critical tips for holiday travel with kids:

Pack your patience

This is a great nugget my friend of Passenger156 shared on Periscope. The holiday season is already a busy travel season. Everyone just wants to get to where they planned with as few hiccups as possible. Throw in bad weather, delayed flights, grumpy people and it could make for a not-so-great travel experience.

But now, security is an all-time high with all of the threats or terrorists floating around. So if you’re traveling this holiday season, not only do you need to pack your patience for the normal busy holiday travel season, but you need to pack a whole life’s worth of patience for the heightened security. Lines will be longer. Security will be tighter. Try to keep the peace as much as possible for your own sanity.

Arrive at the airport an hour earlier than you think you need to be there

Let me tell you how TSA tried to put a dent in our travel plans before we even got started! We had a 6:59AM flight so we arrived at the airport at 4:15AM because we wanted to change our seating on our connection flight. They told us to get there as early as possible. That means we had three kids up and out the door by 3:30AM. We get in line, one of the attendants told us it would be faster to do everything at the kiosk because the line was so long. Ok, no problem. I enter in all five of our passports and personal ID info into the kiosk…15 or so minutes later, it wouldn’t take our info.

Long story short, we waited and waited for someone else to help us. Finally after at least 45 minutes, we were off to TSA to get through security…or so we thought. We get through the line for them to check our boarding passes and passports and not ONE of our boarding passes would scan. What did they do? They sent us back upstairs with all three kids to get them to reprint our passes. So yeah, thank God we had gotten there extra early. And thankfully the kids were too excited about getting on the plane to be bothered with the tomfoolery.

Pay close attention to connection flights

This sounds pretty straight forward. But we learned a big lesson on connection flights between international and domestic destinations. Going to Turks and Caicos we had a connection in Miami… so no problems there. Coming back from Turks and Caicos was the issue. We had a connection flight in Charlotte, which means re-entry into the US. Do you know what that means? It means we had to get off the plane, go through customs, collect our baggage, re-check our bags, go back through TSA, find our gates and then wait to board our connection flight.

Oh and keep in mind that gates change all the time, and ours did at the last minute, which added on an extra 10-15 min to find the new one. We had less than an hour between connection flights to get this all done and thankfully we made it. Otherwise, we would’ve had to wait another 3 hours for the last flight into DC. Or, we very well may have needed to stay a night in Charlotte which could’ve been disastrous.

Have a loose schedule in place prior to leaving

If you’re mixing business with pleasure, like we did, add on a few extra days. We added on four outside of the conference so we could really enjoy the island and our trip. We knew there would be activities and had prepared for some ahead of time. But we also had a loose enough schedule that as other things came up, we could adjust accordingly. I’m so glad we did because the kids were glued to the kids’ camps at the resort. There were so many activities so we were able to get an idea of the things we wanted to do ahead of time, and plan accordingly. But when things came up we didn’t know about (like baking cookies with THE Cookie Monster), we weren’t thrown off track.

Let each of the kids pack their own small suitcase or backpack

My kids felt so empowered and in charge when they got to pack their own backpacks and carry them around on their own. It really is the little things. Inside each of their backpacks, they had: headphones, a tablet, coloring book with markers, a blanket, snacks and other small games or toys. We made sure not to over pack them so they wouldn’t get tired of holding them. And in fact, we had to beg them to put them down when we got to the resort as we waited for our room LOL. I wanted to find a small suitcase their size with rollers, but honestly, their backpacks worked out perfectly for what they carried in them.

There are many more things that I enjoyed and learned on our trip to Turks and Caicos, but these travel tips were critical.

BMWK: Do you travel during the holidays with your kids? What tips would you add to the list?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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5 Empowering Lessons on Being Black in America that We Must Teach Our Children

BY: - 3 Dec '15 | Parenting

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Before Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award, was named a MacArthur Genius, and had a New-York-Times-Bestselling Book, he was a father, and he was a son.

In The Beautiful Struggle, he details growing up in Baltimore during the “Age of Crack” and his father’s fight to raise his seven children. In Between the World and Me, Mr. Coates writes a letter to his son explaining the nuances of growing up black in America.

Pain and hope are how I describe the books, because despite the perils that surrounded Mr. Coates’ upbringing—he has soared. Here are five lessons I learned from reading his books:

1) Black Fathers Fear

“My father was so very afraid. I felt it in the sting of his black leather belt, which he applied with more anxiety than anger…I would hear it in his voice ‘Either I can beat him, or the police.’”

In the aftermath of a tragedy, we often hear from mothers. But fathers fear just as deeply. Mr. Coates shares how he, like his father, is afraid when his fifteen-year old son leaves him, that he will be taken.

2) Black Fathers Love Wounded

“Your mother had to teach me how to love you—how to kiss you and tell you I love you every night…and it is because I am wounded.”

It is hard for a black father to show love, when his entire being has been dedicated to survival. This made me think about my dad…perhaps he was harsh because he too had been wounded.

3) Vanquish Fear

“From maggots to men, the world is a corner bully. Better you knuckle up and go for yours than have to bow your head and tuck your chain.”

Mr. Coates shares an incident where he lost his house keys as a kid. His father, as a child, didn’t bring home his father’s newspaper. Both incidents happened as a result of bullying and both ended in violence.

It took me a while to understand why a father could be so hard?  But the reality is that: we live in a cold world that will not console or protect our children. In their own way, the Coates men were teaching their sons to vanquish fear.

4) Knowledge is Armor

“Perhaps I too might wield the same old power that animated the ancestors, that lived in Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Nanny, Cudjoe, Malcolm X, and speak—no act—as though my body were my own.”

Knowledge of our ancestors and our history is armor against internalizing inferiority

5) The Law Does Not Protect

“The law does not protect us. And now, in your time, the law has become an excuse for stopping and frisking you.”

American history is rife with stories of the destruction of our people: Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and countless others. It is easy to forget this history when a black family moves into the White House.

Yes, we have made progress. But we still have not attained Dr. King’s Dream.

After the Mike Brown verdict, Mr. Coates didn’t try to comfort his son. His advice to his son is: “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

Why I Read These Books

I read Mr. Coates books because I’m desperately trying to understand the chaos that surrounds me. I read his books because my husband and I want to raise a family, and at some point we’re going to have to sit down and talk to our children about what it means to be black in America.

I read these books, because I am tired of the headlines, hashtags, and hurt that comes with almost every news cycle. And I read because I don’t want to be afraid anymore.

The Search for Comfort

If you too are trying to understand and teach your children black consciousness, Ta-Nehisi Coates is a valid voice for our plight.

But if you are looking for comfort, the ultimate authority on the plight of the oppressed is the Good Lord. John 16:33 reminds us that:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

And that is where I find comfort. Because Jesus is in between me, the world, and all the trouble.

BMWK parents: How do you teach your children about what it means to be black in America?

About the author

M. Simone Boyd wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month.

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