Flying, tablets and parenting: Oh my

These days it is tough to be a parent with young kids in public spaces. Restaurants are banning kids under six, breast feeding in public is still an issue (let’s move on people) and sometimes a simple task such as shopping with kids is frowned upon. Recently, I went to a large supermarket that had a disproportionate number of elder folks shopping for their groceries that day and you should have seen the number of stink-eyes I was receiving as my boys are skipping down the grocery isles.

With two active preschoolers, I try to do my best. I’m constantly telling/yelling (sometimes it is hard to tell the difference) at them to stop running but the reality is that they are boys. They have energy and no matter what I do, everything is a race.

To help rein them in, I know their personalities very well and what motivates them to stop acting up. That’s why the other day I was disappointed to read a family got kicked off a plane because of an iPad. Here’s a link to the story.

Both parents have to know their child’s personality and whether or not, their child can handle having their tablet taken away at a moment’s notice. We all know airlines are sticklers for rules & regulations. And quite frankly, when you enter a plane with small children you have an automatic bullseye on your back so why take a chance if your child could have a negative reaction to having the tablet taken away?

Furthermore, is it really necessary to pull out the tablet prior to take off? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a parent who is passionate about tablet technology and it has a huge place in our life but not prior to take off. Toddlers need to learn patience. It is an important life skill.

Far too often we tend to use tablet technology as a babysitter and with good reasons. It’s portable; it’s interactive and fun for kids. And let’s be honest, you probably got up at 4am and rushed everyone out the door to make it to the airport. You’re tired and are looking for moment of quiet time, hence why the tablet comes out. The, unfortunate, reality is that once we start to over use the tablet as a babysitter we’re no longer parenting.

So the next time you think about pulling out your tablet prior to take off, take a moment and try these suggestions.

1. Make up a story with your preschooler about the plane. Give it a name and have them describe the places the plane goes all over the world.

2. Talk about your experiences as a child going on family trips. Did you travel by plane, car or by boat? What was your best family vacation memory?

3. Haul out a book that you secretly purchased and read it with them.

4. Talk about where you are going. Go through the 5 W’s – who, what, where, what and why. Toddlers are curious creatures and will appreciate you sending some quality one-on-one time with them.

Now tell me – have you ever had any airplane moments with your child and their tablet? Tweet me @ weebootMom or email me at


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