Traveling With Children – Know Your Rights and Limitations
Sep 1 2008

And now for a fabulous guest post from the ex-general counsel at Expedia, Mark Britton.  I wish I had known about his site, Avvo, before I experienced my Traffic Court Tribulations

Being the ex-general counsel at Expedia and now running Avvo and its free legal advice Q&A forum, I get a lot of questions about travel-particularly travelers’ rights and responsibilities.  As a parent of three rambunctious little boys, I offer this post to help traveling parents everywhere.  On that note, I am reminded of one of Expedia’s great early ads which said something like, “Whoever said getting there is half the fun has never gotten there with a screaming two year old.”  

So, in that spirit, here are some nuggets of knowledge for your next child-laden trip: 

1.  Traveling with kids doesn’t give you special legal rights.  A lot of people assume that because they are traveling with kids they have special rights and preferences granted by the Federal Aviation Administration or some higher authority.  The reality is that your rights-with or without children-are largely whatever the airline chooses to give you.  Don’t think you can be involuntarily bumped with children?  Oh yes, you can.  Outraged that the airline denied you early boarding with your pokey young children? Tough beans.  Not able to avoid your child’s tantrums by letting her run up and down the airline aisle? It’s the flight staff’s call. 

2.  Add 30-60 minutes to get to your gate.  Let’s face it, kids take their time.  That dead cockroach en route to your gate may be disgusting to you, but it absolutely requires closer inspection by a five-year-old.  I learned long ago that rather than trying to whip your kids into an adult pace, allowing more time to get to your gate preserves family harmony.  Just going through security is stressful for a kid-take it slow and make it fun. 

3.  Reserve the allowed seats for your kids.  One place that the feds do get involved is where your children may sit on a plane.  They may not sit in an exit row, and if they are in a car seat, they must sit by the window.  So don’t think you will book your young child in an exit row and the airline will have to live with it-they won’t.  The flight attendants will move you-I see it happen all the time.  Also, don’t book two aisle seats-one for you and your car-seated kid.  Just take it for granted that your child will be sitting by the window and you will be sitting in the middle by the big hairy guy who hogs the armrest. 

4.  No need to smuggle your baby food.  Keep in mind that while you are not allowed to take liquids on a plane, you may take liquid-based baby food.  Many people don’t know this, and so they attempt to come up with creative ways to smuggle on formula or the always-popular peas and carrots.  Stow your criminal tendencies, and simply declare the baby food.  You can take up to one-day’s supply on board, but I have found that TSA personnel are always very sympathetic and accommodating when it comes to food for your infant.  

5.  Kids can get the boot too.  Finally, keep in mind that an airline can deny you boarding-or even ask you to deplane-if your kids are disorderly, abusive or violent.  This goes for adults too, but people are always surprised that it pertains to kids. 

I could go on and on (bring a DVD player with headphones, seat your child behind a parent, etc.).  However, I think I have already exceeded my word limit.  Of course, if you have any more legally related travel questions, we are always here to answer all of your questions.  You can go directly to our free legal advice Q&A forum to ask your personal legal questions- anonymously if desired-and real attorneys will answer them. 

Travel sanely. 

Mark Britton
Founder & CEO
Avvo, Inc.

Accredited Online
If you are interested in the law and your rights and want to interrupt the status quo, consider earning a law degree online. Taking courses online allows you to set your pace and live your life as you choose.

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, father, FYI, parenting, toddler tips, travel, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut
Mar 25 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category

Now here’s a guest tip about kid’s haircuts by Michelle Breyer.  Michelle is the co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com.  NaturallyCurly.com sells hair products for people with curly hair and also provides a place for them to socialize online.  Check out their page for kids with curly hair.

5 Tips for your Child’s First Haircut
by Michelle Breyer of NaturallyCurly.com

curly-hair-1.gifI remember taking my daughter, Emma, for her first haircut. It seemed like no big deal for me. I was more concerned about saving a lock of hair for her baby book than anything else.

But that first haircut turned into a temper tantrum. Since then, I’ve learned there are a number of steps that can make that first trip to the hair salon a good experience rather than one filled with anxiety and tears. If done right, it can set a positive foundation for a child’s feelings about future haircuts, as well as their hair.

“It’s uncharted territory for parents,” says Cozy Friedman, who owns three Cozy’s Cuts for Kids salons/toy stores in New York City.

One of the biggest questions for many parents is when to get the first haircut. Some believe you should wait until their first birthday.

“There are no rules,” says Jody Mackenzie, owner of Banana’s Salon in Fort Myers, Fla. “You should get their hair cut when you think they need that first haircut. If it’s growing horizontal rather than vertical, or getting in their eyes, it’s probably a sign that the time has come.

Then it’s important to find the right place to get that first cut. Kids aren’t necessarily welcome at every hair salon, so make sure the place you choose knows how to work with children, and understands the difference between baby and adult hair.  Many parents – and children – favor children’s salons. In addition to being designed around the needs of children, they usually are chemical free.

At Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, children sit in a jeep, watch a video or play their favorite video game. There are balloons, lollipops, free toys and all the bubbles they can blow. When getting that first cut, the child receives a “First Haircut Certificate” with a keepsake lock of hair.  “My goal was to make it a place to feel really happy,” Friedman says. 

At Yellow Balloon in Studio City, Calif., there is a popcorn machine, a large play area with a mini-arcade and miniature toy boxes at each salon chair.  “Our stylists have had years of experience with children before coming here,” says assistant manager Christina Kirilova. “They curly-hair-2.gifentertain the kids with stories, toys and even magic tricks so they forget why they are here.”  For the baby’s first haircut, the Yellow Balloon includes a framed Polaroid picture commemorating the occasion, a certificate and a lock of the baby’s hair in a special envelope.

Maria Navarro of Classic Kids Hairstyling in Camarillo, Calif., puts colorful gel in little boys’ hair, and does special braids or twists in little girls’ hair.  “You want them to feel special,” Navarro says.

At Houston’s Playhouse Cuts, the stylists sing and dance and play with the kids to make them feel at ease. They also understand the limitations of their young clients.  “You have to have patience,” George says. “A kid’s tolerance isn’t that long. Even though they’re moving and wiggling, you have to keep going or you’ll never finish.”

Before ever getting the first cut, try to take the child by the salon before the day of the actual cut to make them feel more at ease.”Even a walk-through prepares them for it,” Friedman says.  Over time, it’s best to stick with the same stylist. That way, the child will develop a comfort level, and the stylist will understand the needs of the growing child.

When it comes to cutting curls, it’s a good idea to ask for a stylist who is experienced in working with curly or kinky hair. Make sure the stylist understands that curly hair shrinks – as much as three to four inches.  The right cut depends on the texture of the child’s hair.

“There is no one perfect haircut for every child,” Friedman says. Often the stylist will work with the parent on a strategy for their child’s hair, especially if the baby’s hair is just coming in. It may mean cutting the bottom layer over time to let the newer, top layer grow to the same length. “Have a goal, especially for the first time,” Friedman says. “It’s setting the groundwork for years to come.” With curlier or kinky hair, stay away from bangs, says Jami Walker of the Hairy Elephant in Ballwin, Mo. “They just kink up too much,” Walker says. Bangs can be a big commitment, and can be difficult to grow out. Many stylists encourage the parent to work on growing the child’s hair to one length or long layers.

Be an active part of your child’s haircut.”You may want a bob, but every stylist has a different interpretation of what a bob is,” Friedman says. “Be very descriptive. Bring pictures.” Make sure you’re realistic about what you want. If your child has tight curls, a pageboy haircut probably isn’t the right cut.

Finally, remember that the first haircut is a chance to make your child feel good about the experience, and about their hair. If the parent is anxious or talks about the hair as if it’s a problem, the baby picks up on it.  “Parents forget that children are sponges,” Friedman says. ”

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut

  1. Always make an appointment. Otherwise, the child may have to wait.
  2. Try to get the first appointment of the day so the child can get in and out.
  3. Stay away from the word “haircut.” That can be scary for children, who associate cuts with pain. Instead, use the word trim.
  4. Bring snacks. A hungry child is unlikely to cooperate.
  5. Take the child at a time when they’re most relaxed. For some it might be after a nap. For others, it might be right before a nap.

_____

If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
Mar 20 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category.

 baby-on-potty-amazon.jpg
Note: We didn’t use the above potty training contraption available from Amazon.  I just thought it was a cute picture, and I might have tried it out if I had known about it. :-)

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My kids are now 5 ½ and 3 years old and fortunately the potty training gods smiled on us because both were day-time trained around 2 ½ years of age.  Thankfully, our oldest (a boy) was trained about 2 months before our daughter was born.  He wore Pull-Ups at night until he was 4 but our daughter quit wearing pull ups when she was about 2 years and 9 months old.  Ah, it’s so nice not to have buy diapers or Pull-Ups anymore!

They each had a couple of night time accidents and we had a few more sheet changes with our son, but overall a less traumatic experience that I was bracing myself for.   We did the following with our kids.  Try these tips out and hopefully they’ll work for you.

1. Observe the signs. If your child is waking up dry from nap or night for at least a couple of weeks that is a big clue to start potty training. There are so many reasons to ‘ignore’ or not want to ‘see’ the signs that having your spouse, close friend or in our case a pre-school teacher throw some cold water in your face can really help. I was 8 months pregnant when our son’s pre-school teacher said you MUST potty train now. I was thinking to myself “are you crazy woman?! I can barely pick myself up let alone a toddler onto a potty.” I figured I’d wait until after the baby was born. I had been picking him up from pre-school and putting on a diaper/pull-up because I didn’t want to be unnecessarily cleaning a car seat. After being sternly warned by the teacher not to do that, I ended up putting a towel down on his car seat just in case.

2. Be consistent. When you are potty training make sure to take your toddler to the potty at least every 2 to 3 hours during the day. After a few weeks you’ll start to see the time between potty visits diminish. We observed that most accidents happened if we had forgotten to take them to the potty or were afraid to take them to the potty when they were in the middle of doing fun stuff for fear of the inevitable kicking and screaming.

3. Morning and Night. As soon as they wake up (even if it’s the crack of dawn and you’d much rather scream out loud than take them to the potty) put them on the potty. Even if they refuse to go, this will get them associating morning time with potty time and show them it’s OK to get up to go to the potty than to wet the bed. The same goes for night time. Put them on the potty right before going to bed so they create the same night time association as well.

4. Read a designated potty book. One of the things that worked really well for us with our son was identifying a potty book. I actually got this tip from Keys to Toilet Training by Meg Zwieback. Every night when we put him on the potty, we would read the same book to him. Since he was (and still is) so active, getting him to sit on the potty for any length of time was challenging. He liked reading the ‘potty book’ and because he sat longer he more often than not used the potty! This technique didn’t work so well with our daughter because she was fairly quick in going so she didn’t need to be entertained for long. Must be a girl thing (i.e., we’re less inclined to read newspapers and magazines while sitting on the toilet than guys are!)

5. Encourage and Reward. It is so important that you encourage and reward your toddler for going to the potty. You can do this with hugs, creating a chart, treats, activities, toys, etc. With our kids we used a chart that we would put smiley faces on when they went to the potty and sad faces if they had an accident. The chart gave them a visual to see how they were progressing and the act of us drawing a smiley face would make them so proud and happy! We also hugged them, gave them high 5′s, clapped, and sometimes gave them a Gerber fruit snack treat. When they went several days in a row without an accident, they would get to do something fun, get a treat, or better yet chose their own Spiderman or Dora the Explorer underwear!

Every child is different so try these tips and come up with your own that fit your unique situation.  We used these tips and achieved pretty good potty-training results.  Now, don’t go asking me about baby sleep tips because I’m still trying to figure out which ones worked and which ones didn’t!

The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them with breastfeeding support bottle feedings, mom’s pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby’s first year photo album.

______

If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols of DadLabs

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane
Mar 14 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)  To read other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Debbie Dubrow is a mother of two (ages 2 1/2 and 1) living in Seattle, WA. Her blog, Delicious Baby is about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids, and is filled with personal travel stories, family-friendly city guides, and lots of tips and advice for traveling with kids. Her blog post Advantage Rent A Car’s Frightening Car Seats spawned two under-cover news investigations and a sweeping change in corporate policy at a major rental car agency.  Debbie graciously shares with us this tip from her blog:

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane – Guest Post

This time of year, every parent gets anxious about their travel plans and keeping their young kids occupied on long plane flights. Here are our top ten airplane activities for toddlers and preschoolers that won’t increase the size of your luggage!

  1. Go on a scavenger hunt through the airplane magazine. On each page, pick one item that your child has to locate. For older children, hand them the magazine and say “can you find a picture of an airplane?”
  2. Put some fun pictures onto your digital camera (you’re carrying it anyway). Good candidates are pictures of the people and places you are going to visit or pictures of a recent adventure (like the zoo). During the flight, you can relive the fun and tell stories about where/who you’re visiting.
  3. When the flight attendant delivers drinks, ask for a cup, a couple ice cubes, and a straw. There are endless games with this combination. Ice is fascinating to toddlers in and of itself, and you can teach them to swirl it on the bottom of the cup, or catch it on the straw (airplane ice usually has a hole in the middle). Watch that the ice doesn’t end up in their mouth though (choking hazard).
  4. Teach yourself some new finger rhymes (e.g. “where is thumbkin”) before you go.
  5. Get your children playing with the neighbors in front of and behind you before the plane takes off. (Peek-a-boo and kiss-blowing are hard for even the most stoic travelers to resist). Your seat-mates will be a lot more understanding if your children have a difficult time later once they’ve seen them at their cutest, and you never know what fun entertainment they’ll come up with.
  6. Extend snack time by challenging your child. “What is the is the smallest bite you can take” or “see if you can eat just one at a time (tricky for little fingers). Pack your snacks in Tupperware & the packaging becomes a toy when the snack is done.
  7. For young toddlers, screwing and unscrewing the top on a plastic water bottle is great fun (watch carefully as small tops are a choke hazard). Ask the flight attendant to bring you an empty bottle if you’re not carrying one.
  8. Learning how to fasten and unfasten an “old fashioned” seatbelt, jacket zipper, and snaps or buttons on their clothing (or a carryon bag) can keep them occupied for a long time
  9. Have your toddler help you make up fanciful stories about what you will do on your trip. For young toddlers, they might choose between two options, while older kids will be able to fill in parts of the stories.
  10. Three words: Barf bag puppets

You’ve already killed quite a bit of time without breaking into your secret stash of travel toys and books. Our next post will cover our favorite airplane toys for toddlers.

Related Links:
Flying with Babies, Toddlers and Kids
Ten Great Travel Toys you Already Have at Home
Our Favorite Travel Toys

______

If you like this tip, you might be interested in these great ones too:

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols of DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena of A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Light At The End of the Potty Training Tunnel
Nov 19 2007

Our 2 1/2 year old daughter is now officially day-time potty trained!  Knock on wood.  It’s been a few weeks without any accidents so we are crossing our fingers that we can now move on to the next stage of our parenting lives.  My two (and only) posts where I mention potty training are here and hereCorrection:  I did also mention potty training on my Are We There Yet? When Will We Get There?! post.

Now for a couple of interesting, recent posts on Boing Boing related to toilets and potty training to liven up your day!

Decorative toilet decals

|


Etsy seller Vital makes a variety of toilet-tank decals, from this jellyfish to manatees, SCUBA divers, catfish, and bicycles, drain-plugs, Vespas and skeleton-keys. Link (via Cribcandy)

Ancient Greek potty training pottery device

|


BB reader Bill Bliss, who shared some cool photos from Ghana with us earlier this year, says…”I was in Greece recently, and in the Agora in Athens there’s a museum. There’s an artifact in there that I just had to take a picture of! It’s a potty training seat made from clay (partially reconstructed, from the looks of it). Who knew?”

Larger image.

Author: | Filed under: diaper change, parenting, random stuff, toddler tips | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

She Went to School in a Pull-Up and Came Home Wearing Underwear
Sep 27 2007

We are in the midst of potty training our almost 2 ½ year old girl. Just last week, I sent her to pre-school wearing a Huggies Pull-Up (yes she likes the Cars ones) and 3 pairs of Happy Feet underwear that I got at Target. She came back wearing underwear and had no accidents that day. I was impressed. Unlike our son, who mastered the poo poo part first, she seems to be going for the pee pee part first, which makes for not-fun underwear clean-up. :-(

Erin was stressed that we missed her sweet spot for training a while back because we tried a few weeks ago and she didn’t seem phased at all about soiling her underwear so we went quickly back to diapers for a little while, but I wasn’t worried. I knew she’d eventually get it…definitely before she was 13!  :-)

Some of the techniques we used on our son didn’t work for her.  Apparently we really lucked out with our son. I heard horror stories about how hard it was to train boys. Thankfully, our non-sleeping son (he’s 5 and he still wakes up at night) made the potty training part of his life fairly easy for us. He started going poo poo in the potty a few months after his 2nd birthday…which I’ve been told is unusual. I’ve heard that most kids get the pee pee part down before the poo poo part.

When he was 2 ½, I was about 8 months pregnant. He was going to pre-school so the teachers had a system of lining up all the kids against the wall and having them take turns going potty. The teachers then said “He’s ready. Send about 5 pairs of underwear and we’ll work with him.” I was thinking to myself “Well OK, I don’t know. I want to wait until after our daughter arrives to start training him because there’s no way I can make a mad dash to the bathroom while carrying him being 9 months pregnant!”

So I reluctantly agreed and took him to school in a diaper (because I didn’t want to be cleaning a car seat mess) and gave them some Spiderman underwear. He had a few accidents and then within days they even took off the Pull-Up during nap. I would pick him up and put a diaper on him for the 25-30 minute ride home because there was no-way I was going to clean up a car seat!  Erin dropped him off one day and the teacher asked him if we were putting our son in a diaper when we got home and he said “Well my wife is 9 months pregnant and she can’t…” and the teacher, who has helped train hundreds of kids, interrupted him and looked at him with a no BS look on her face and said “If you don’t go all the way right now, you will live to regret it.” You have to know the teacher…if she says something, you do it no questions asked, and I’m so glad we did.

It was a bit inconvenient at first but we muddled through it and he was trained before our daughter was born. Phew. It made life much easier for us. I think he had day-time one accident after she was born which was understandable given all the changes going on.

Important: When someone says their kid is potty-trained they usually mean during the day hours when they are awake. Before starting the process I kept thinking “Wow that kid is only 2 and she’s potty trained…even when she naps and sleeps?” In 90% (unscientific generalization on my part) they still wear a diaper or Pull-Up at night and/or nap. Our son was not night potty trained until just after he turned 4.  We put him in underwear the night of his 4th birthday.  A couple of accidents later, he was done and we haven’t looked back!

So our daughter looks like she might figure out the whole pee pee thing in a few weeks but we’re still working on the poo poo part. She just won’t tell us when it’s happening. You have to be right there and see the look on her face and rush her to the potty just in time. She’ll go when she’s there but she won’t tell us before hand. If she’s quiet for too long, I ran frantically around the house to find her to see if she’s in progress. :-)

Also, she will just sit on the toilet to sit there, laugh, and pull the toilet paper out. Our son would sit there (and pull the toilet paper out) but 95% of the time something came out!  I actually purchased one potty book when we were training him and found the techniques the author presented to be very useful. In particular, we picked a book he liked to be his potty book (which happened to be Who Lives in the Pond – baby einstein book), and we read it when he sat on the toilet.  However, she wasn’t too into that book or others.  Although we bought one of those small potties, we barely used it because it’s not pleasant cleaning it up.  See link to the toilet training book below:

I hope our luck holds out with our daughter with regards to potty training. The process further goes to show that every child is different. If you have any ideas to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, toddler tips | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »