Thoughts and questions inspired by pending plane flight - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 06-09-2008, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're going on a plane trip (I found a direct flight! ) in a couple months, when Naked Baby will be about 1.5yo, and we're looking at ways to keep him occupied and relatively content in an incredibly enclosed, unfamiliar space. My partner remarked to me last night that for the first time, he understood why people would buy portable DVD players and plop their kids in front of it, and we are seriously thinking about bringing a laptop with video games on it, or buying some other type of electronic toy.

Now, I don't really want to electronically drug my baby for a 3 hour flight, but that comment and conversation got me thinking about where we draw our lines and why. I'd be the last person to tell anyone that they shouldn't use whatever method they need to to get through the day with everyone safe and more or less sane, but I also am the type of person who really did never use bottles, or strollers, or cribs, or disposables, or jarred baby food, or flashy battery operated toys, or whatever people say they "have" to use (and again, I'm not living in anyone else's shoes, and I recognize that there are times when those things do make life easier, or are truly needed, and we all have to make our own decisions there - and I will be the first to say that with a different baby, we might have made different decisions).

But my thinking is there are options that I think shouldn't be first resorts but may be used lovingly in some situations (say, cribs and bottles), and ones I think are just generally unnecessary but may be convenient or sometimes needed (jarred baby food and strollers), and ones that I simply will not use and do not believe are ever an acceptable option (crying it out, spanking). And I guess the point is, I'm not sure where in those categories I would put TV or electronic media. I do know that it changes over time, because I simply wouldn't put a 6 month old in front of a TV, and it wouldn't occur to me to disallow a 16 year old from playing video games. I also know that it's situational, in that I would discourage someone from using TV on a daily basis with an average 1.5 year old, and I would never use it in that context myself, but I wouldn't tell someone whose toddler needed major surgery that they "shouldn't" do whatever makes life easier or more manageable or kinder for their child.

So where do you draw your lines? Is TV simply unnecessary for you? Do you believe it's always harmful, or always harmful for the under-2 (or whatever age) set? Is it something you try to avoid, but are willing to use in special circumstances, and what would you consider those to be?

And how would YOU survive two 3 hour flights with a 1.5 yo?
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#2 of 19 Old 06-09-2008, 10:43 PM
 
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From my experience I wouldn't sweat a 3 hour flight with a 1.5 year old. The flight is short enough and your child young enough that I'll bet you will do fine without a DVD player.

We are TV-free and have traveled extensively with DS since he was a few months old. We never even thought to bring any DVD's from ages 0-3. In that time he flew from the east coast to Chicago, Vancouver, Mexico, and Miami. At that young age we easily passed the time with nursing, snacks, stickers, new books to read, nesting dolls, and walking up and down the aisles.

When DS was about 3 we went to Hawaii and decided to bring a DVD player in case we hit critical meltdown in the LONG haul there. Well long doesn't even begin to describe it! Because of weather and delays and broken airplanes the trip took 26 hours door to door! EEEK! We busted out the DVD player at the Phoenix airport while waiting 8 hours for a broken plane and guess what??? He had NO desire to sit and watch. What he wanted was french fries and to run up and down the terminal like a crazy man. And although DH and I lost our patience and good will, DS never did. When we finally boarded the plan for our final leg, he passed out cold from all of the running around!

My advice...
Don't sweat it

Start making a small bag of goodies he's never seen before to dole out slowly on the plane (sticker books were a BIG hit, nesting dolls, new story books, favorite snacks, all things you keep as a surprise until you get on board)

Sit near the back and on an aisle so you can walk him around once you are airborn

Get to the airport early and run the boy down. Let him get the wiggles out, play games in the terminal, walk walk walk. Then hopefully by the time you board the plane he is POOPED!

Bring an Ergo or your baby carrier of choice. It's the easiest way to do the airport shuffle.

Have fun!

I really like traveling with DS, he is a trooper and always rises to the occasion!







p.s. edited to add that in theory, I am not against bringing a DVD player to make a flight go easier for your kid, even though I support being TV free. I guess what is irksome is when families act as if they can not leave the house without one. It should - in my opinion - be a last resort, not a necessity. But I also think age has a lot to do with it. At 0-3 I wouldn't even consider it, just like I wouldn't do movies/TV with kids that young at home. 3-4+ years old I think the moving image is fine, but for our family we choose VERY carefully what is watched, and avoid "kids" movies and anything heavily commercialized. And we try to make sure that DS learns that there are other ways to pass the time.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#3 of 19 Old 06-10-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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3-4+ years old I think the moving image is fine, but for our family we choose VERY carefully what is watched, and avoid "kids" movies and anything heavily commercialized.
Watching this thread closely, as we're in the same boat with our DD. Thank you for the marvelous response!

OT, I know, but I'm curious: what do you watch, if not "kids" movies?
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#4 of 19 Old 06-10-2008, 11:57 AM
 
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OT, I know, but I'm curious: what do you watch, if not "kids" movies?
We watch nature documentaries. DS is RIVETED by them. IMAX movies like Coral Reef Adventure, Mysteries of the Nile, The Dream is Alive (and all of the space ones), Dolphins, Amazon. Also a great nature doc called Animals Are Beautiful People. Also short docs like the Families of the World series and the BIG series (the Big Zoo, the Big Submarine, the Big Space Shuttle)

As far as fiction, we try to stick to pretty innocent stuff and movies that have no commercialization (a sticking point for me personally). So we've seen Milo & Otis, Homeward Bound, Black Stallion, Wallace and Grommit shorts, Red Balloon, Kiki's Delivery Service. I personally would never do marketed kids movies like Toy Story, Cars, Nemo, that new panda movie, etc. Too sassy and rude and violent and heavily commercialized.

When we watch, we always do it as a family, with popcorn and pillows on the floor and such. We try to make a special a special event of it rather than something to pass the time.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#5 of 19 Old 06-10-2008, 08:08 PM
 
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I remember also considering a laptop with games when DD was about that age for a long flight, but it turned out we never would have needed it. Our ace in the hole has been these huge sticker books (I think the brand is Priddy Books) that DD loved. We also stocked up on exciting snacks and new little tiny toys.

I do agree with your general point, though. I think I have come off as a major no-TV stickler in this forum, but I'm actually not as much as it might seem. I do think it can be useful in some situations and I have on rare occasions let DD watch it because of extenuating circumstances; however, it's actually turned out that DD doesn't like it that much anyway. As she gets older I do see a place for the kind of movies boatbaby is talking about. What I am definitely opposed to is TV or movies as a constant daily companion or background noise. I think I'm more anti-kids'-movie than anti-TV, actually; a daily hour of PBS doesn't weird me out nearly the way that obsessive re-viewing of Disney movies and focus on the accompanying consumer items does.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#6 of 19 Old 06-11-2008, 01:13 AM
 
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We are TV free, but do one or two dvds a week right now. After a few 5 hour flights of me trying to entertain my high needs DS (books, stickers, snacks, games...) I had a panic attack on the plane. Ever since then I use a dvd player because I need to focus on myself. We like old school Pooh cartoons and nature documentaries.

*Liz* : mountain mama to DS 12/04
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#7 of 19 Old 06-13-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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I'm about to fly 12 hours with a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old. Small flights we never bring a laptop but this time we definetely will. One of the big reasons is to distract them from the big movies playing. We flew 2 years ago and were HORRIFIED by the movies they were playing (Xmen, mission impossible 3) and it was so hard to keep our oldest (then just over 2) from looking at the bright flashing screen. The only thing that worked really well was daddy pulling out the laptop and playing videos.
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#8 of 19 Old 06-15-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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We fly JetBlue typically and so I'll turn on Animal Planet or something else besides cartoons. We're TV-free, but being stuck on a plane for 5 hours, I'm willing to let it slide without the blink of an eye. DS doesn't watch for very long, though, so I'm not worried about it.

Leslie, mom to John :, 02/25/06
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#9 of 19 Old 06-16-2008, 10:21 AM
 
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When DD1 was 10 months, I took a 7 hour flight with her (just me!). I had no qualms about feeding her M&Ms to keep her entertained during the last hour of that very long flight.

I would never have given them to her on a regular day in our lives, but desperate times call for desperate measures, if you know what I mean.

DVDs, M&Ms... whatever... loosening my standards for specific, limited occasions is totally fine by me.
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#10 of 19 Old 06-16-2008, 10:44 AM
 
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My daughter will be 5 in a few days and we have travelled extensively since she was a couple of months old, usually more than 10 hours between the UK and US.

3 Hours is actually a pretty short flight and that will be over before you know it. As others suggested, a bag of little surprises goes a long way. I also used to gift wrap each thing when my daughter was a toddler as it added some extra play time to each item.

My daughter is completely TV/screen free however, we did once bring a portable DVD player on a trip. That was the time when she was 2 and we were doing a major trip to the US plus 2 side trips which came to a total of 10 flights in three weeks. It did seem to entertain her for about an hour but it became a big issue while we were there with her asking over and over to see it.
Personally while I am really against the idea of screen time for kids at all I do see the value in a situation like long haul travel. I also think that the fact that it is in a completely different venue to everyday life makes it easier to swallow.

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Originally Posted by JJJJBlue3333 View Post
One of the big reasons is to distract them from the big movies playing. We flew 2 years ago and were HORRIFIED by the movies they were playing (Xmen, mission impossible 3) and it was so hard to keep our oldest (then just over 2) from looking at the bright flashing screen.
This was an issue for us on our last flight. They were playing Happy Feet and my daughter has never seen a movie before. I decided that she could wear the earphones to watch it if she liked. It's sitting right there in fron t of her while she is trapped on a plane so I felt like it wasn't fair to expect her to ignore it.
Well, it lasted about 10 minutes before she got freaked out by it and really wanted to be away from it.
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#11 of 19 Old 06-18-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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My DS has been tv-free since birth. We travel pretty frequently. We did a long-haul (6 hr nonstop flight) with DS when he was just under two. It was no biggie. We read books, walked the aisles (good for us as well as him), looked out the window, introduced new small toys regularly, and he napped for awhile. Not hard.

Our biggest problem has been the terribly inappropriate stuff that they show on the overhead. Some of that stuff is awful!
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#12 of 19 Old 06-21-2008, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the reponses. I'm reminded I need to check whether we'll be dealing with "in flight entertainment" bunk! The saturation of TV into our culture really bugs me, and has since even before we dropped it at home. I remember the last time I flew anywhere trying to find a place to wait to board that wasn't being invaded by the perpetual CNN feed. I couldn't find anywhere.

Ah well. You've given me hope, and things to think about. Thanks.
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#13 of 19 Old 06-21-2008, 08:37 AM
 
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I remember the last time I flew anywhere trying to find a place to wait to board that wasn't being invaded by the perpetual CNN feed. I couldn't find anywhere.
Now this I can help you with! We gave my Mom a TV-B-Gone -- a universal remote that looks like a keychain fob -- for her birthday. If you see a senior citizen in an airport chuckling madly while televisions all around her turn off that'll be her. (She does ensure that there's no one in the waiting room actually watching them.)
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#14 of 19 Old 06-21-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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So where do you draw your lines? Is TV simply unnecessary for you? Do you believe it's always harmful, or always harmful for the under-2 (or whatever age) set? Is it something you try to avoid, but are willing to use in special circumstances, and what would you consider those to be?

And how would YOU survive two 3 hour flights with a 1.5 yo?
Yes, I believe TV is simply unnecessary for our family, but I don't believe that it is always harmful. We flew to Africa with our 2 year old (18 hour flight) and YES we let him watch those DVD players that are in the back of the seats. What else are you supposed to do with a 2 year old for 18 hours in a confined place? But a 3 hour flight? I think it is very doable without bringing along a DVD player. Just lots of snacks and books and maybe some crayons. I don't think it is necessarily wrong to use the DVD player on a flight but I don't think it's necessary. So I would personally try to do it without the movies.

Blessed mama of four
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#15 of 19 Old 06-25-2008, 01:45 AM
 
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we are T.V free buy flying to England to australia just myself and my two year old i was ready to try ANYTHING! My two year old of course woulddnt wear the headphones for the back of the seat screen things, so lost intreast very quickly. It was a very long flight.

traveling around the u.k visiting friends and family was very intresting, they all thought that I was completly nuts for being TV free-some intresting discussions lol.
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#16 of 19 Old 07-04-2008, 06:01 AM
 
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Now this I can help you with! We gave my Mom a TV-B-Gone -- a universal remote that looks like a keychain fob -- for her birthday. If you see a senior citizen in an airport chuckling madly while televisions all around her turn off that'll be her. (She does ensure that there's no one in the waiting room actually watching them.)
OMG! That product is hilarious!

Sorry, totally OT here but I have to say that public TVs are one of my biggest pet peeves in the world. I hate going out somewhere and finding myself in front of a TV-why oh why do there have to be TVs everywhere we go?!!
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#17 of 19 Old 07-05-2008, 12:45 PM
 
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We've done 4 10 hour + flights with a little built in TV in front. Either it's off, or switched to the flight map mode, which to us is like he computer screen.

I did watch 3 shows while on the last flight, boys were alseep I was bored. 1 I actually enjoyed, the other 2 I sat and said after, what a waste of time.
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#18 of 19 Old 07-11-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Hi there - I went on a plane with my DS when he was 19 months old and it was a 3 hour flight. I was alone too so had no adult help. I also did not buy DS a seat - he was in my lap, although the airline was cool and ended up blocking the middle seat next to us so know one was there and we had more space. I took play-dough, books and some small little games as well as snacks for him. It really worked out well! The outbound flight he was very happy and content for about the first hour and a half and then he wanted to walk up and down the aisle a bit, but no biggie. Most passengers are sooo understanding and happy to see a toddler walking by. The flight attendants were very cool as well. On the return flight I gave him a bottle of milk on take off and he fell asleep on my chest and proceeded to sleep the entire flight until we landed! That was luck, I think. It depends on your child's temperment, but I think that at that age they can be pretty easy to travel with.
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#19 of 19 Old 07-18-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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Three hours is nothing. You'll be fine. I barely pack anything for flights that short.

However, give me a 14 hour flight on a 24 hour journey with a TV-free 2 year old and I'll show you how wonderful it can be. We used ONE sticker book and she watched that TV screen for 4-5 hours. She loooved the flight map, but also kid's TV shows, movies, etc, etc.
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