Of all the things I carry in either my backpack or my carry-on, these tend to be the most invaluable, not only to me but to my fellow travelers. Kids aren’t generally big fans of travelling. They are especially not big fans of being told to sit quietly in a seat for 6, 8, or maybe 10 or 12 hours and don’t make any noise. Can you really blame them? Years ago I remember, on a flight from Sydney back to LA, there was a child that was just miserable and dead-set on letting everyone around her know it. She was beside herself crying and squirming and just not happy. I get the feeling that part of the problem was pressure in her ears that she couldn’t clear and was really hurting her.
After about an hour or two, a woman came from the back with a handful of stickers, a candy cane and a small toy animal (like you see hanging from a rearview mirror or maybe a child’s crib). She gently approached the little girl and asked her which one she wanted. The little girl quickly stopped crying and her focus was trained on the little goodies in front of her. She wanted them all!! The woman made a deal with the little girl and said she could have one now and that she would come back in a little while and that if she stopped crying and was good for her mommie and daddie, she could choose a second gift. It was magic. For virtually the whole flight this little girl’s attention was on getting the prize and not on the discomfort of travel for her.
Since that day, I always have something on hand to appease an unhappy child traveller. Some parents aren’t a fan of candy or a stranger giving there child something they would put in their mouths so I always have stickers, a few small rubber balls, a matchbox-type car (for a boy), some not-so-horrible but yummy candy, and a small child’s book.
They are absolutely priceless to have on hand and generally parents are beyond grateful.
Another tip from The Global Nomad Shopper.