Staying Positive and Sane While Traveling With Your Kiddos

So the end of the last blog I begin telling you about an experience I had in Mexico, with my son, one of my best friends and her twin boys and the teachable moment for us all. This event really made me realize how important R.A.B.S.A.P is in keeping my fear from projecting onto my child, as well as helping me to stay calm, even in the most extreme situations.

It all started with an amazing vacation my bbf and I decided to take with our boys. We both love the beach, warm weather, and Mexico (which we had both been to many, many times). We found an all-inclusive, safe, kid-friendly resort and we were on our way to 7 days in “mommy” paradise with our 8-year-old boys. What could be lovelier and more appealing to a stressed-out mom than sitting on a beach, sipping margaritas while the kids are in the “Kid Play Care” at the resort, right? It would have been fantastic had our boys actually stayed in the play care. Our boys decided it wasn’t for them, and broke out which in Mexico at this resort wasn’t very hard to do.

As we sat on the beach sipping our margaritas, happy that someone else was watching our boys. Then we noticed two small kids that looked strangely like my son and one of hers running directly toward us. You see her boys are natural platinum blondes and my son at the time had dreadlocks, so they all kind of stood out. Oh, but it couldn’t be our kids, after all, they were safe and sound in the “Kid Play Care”. Then BAM, there they were, yes it was our kids, but one of them was missing, maybe he stayed in the play care.  As the boys tumbled onto to us (very literally), they explained that the other twin had gone off with a man on a donkey and he was promising him new sneakers.

PANIC and FEAR jolted into both of us as we jumped up to figure out where he was and if he was safe. My son immediately picked up on my fear and absorbed it like a dry sponge to water! Up to this point, he was concerned and knew it was wrong, which is why he ran to tell us but was keeping a positive outlook. That is until my fear jumped out of me and leached onto him, and for a very good reason. My thoughts immediately went dark and low-vibration with stories I’d head of children being kidnapped and put on the black market in Mexico. I tried to stay calm to help keep my friend calm but we were both very worried. We quickly jumped up and ran in the general direction of where they said he went, dragging the boys with us of course.

After running in panic mode down the beach we stopped to catch our breath. It was at this time I noticed the sheer terror and fear in my son’s little face that was not there before. I had given him this. I knew I had to stop and try and shift my thoughts.

Now before I continue I want to be clear that I do not in anyway think that freaking out and thinking bad thoughts about your children will make it come true. However, being someone who has studied L.O.A. I do know that thinking these negative thoughts do not help you in your crisis situation. Keeping positive thoughts and staying calm will help you get through it easier. I also want to make it clear that I do not, in anyway think that any parent that has suffered extreme circumstances caused it by their thoughts. No parent deserves to go through having their child hurt or worse.

Back to Mexico…
As we stopped to catch our breath and look around for a young boy on a donkey, I took 4 big breathes and I as I did my son instantly sighed. He seemed to be picking up that I was calming down. My friend, who happens to a holistic Doctor and spiritual practitioner, noticed I was taking some big yoga breaths. We all took a few big breaths, and my son said “Mommy, he’s fine. You know him he always does these things.” this made us all feel better. As we headed down the curved beach all of a sudden there appeared a donkey with what looked like a young boy on it, being pulled by a man. As we ran up, we saw it was indeed my friend’s son and he was fine. The man worked for the resort and was taking people on 20-minute donkey rides down the beach and back. Whew! Now we really needed those margaritas!

Once we had the boys all safely back with us we decided to speak about the event with them. I also had a private conversation with my son using positive parenting and words to help him “flip” the fear of the event so it would stay with him into his future. I taught him that there are inherent dangers in the world and it’s his responsibility to make choices that keep him safe. I also taught him that staying positive, keeping a clear head, taking breaths to help calm you down during a crisis can often help bring about a more positive outcome. I gave him suggestions of better choices of words that I could have used, instead of saying “Oh My God! WTF was he thinking? I hope he doesn’t get lost or hurt!” I could have said “That is not the best choice he made, let’s quickly find him to help keep him safe”. We then “adjusted” the situation, we talked about the scenario and how to turn it into a positive situation from the beginning. From making the choice to not leave the “Kid Play Care” without letting us know, or asking an adult there to find us before leaving. Once, I had said everything I thought he could absorb about flipping and adjusting the situation I let him know we were going to go have some fun. We then met back up with our friends and we all had a fun night with some creative play, incorporating the situation into it.

What could have been an awful outcome, thankfully ended positively and was an amazing teaching experience that we all learned from.

Me and my son, Foster on the Mexico Vacation.

Side note, her son went off again later that week. He went to the front of the line as we were getting off a boat to a remote beach and got in and took a dingy with a family he didn’t know. As we turned around and noticed he was gone, my son said: “look mom there he is in the dingy with those people!” We all stayed calm, yelled at the adventure guide to make sure someone held him for us at the beach. Needless to say, she had a lot more teaching about not going off with strangers left to explain to her son. Oh, and he was fine.

This experience is not uncommon when traveling with children. I hear all the time horror stories about traveling with kids, from the airport to the location and everywhere in-between. In fact, I wrote a book called “Toddler Travels” a while back that I recently took off Amazon so I can make it a Freebie on the Magnificent Mom blog in the next week.

Traveling with kids can cause all sorts of low-vibe, hair-pulling experiences, that always come directly from us. Yes, I know you didn’t want your toddler to throw that temper tantrum but I’m fairly certain your toddler picked up on your stress which caused her to stress herself, and we all know how toddlers deal with stress. They throw tantrums.

There are so many ways to keep your travels calm. The first step is to visualize the entire journey going smoothly and calmly before it’s even close to time to go. Along with visualizing use positive words in the past tense about how the travel part is going to go such as “I’m thrilled that maneuvering through the airport was so easy and enjoyable and I’m so happy that my child was so calm and happy with the entire experience”. You’d be surprised how well this can help put your mindset into a positive frame which makes all your energy higher that sets the tone for the entire trip.

When my son was very young we were bicoastal and we traveled a lot. This put us in the airports right after 9/11 traveling with a baby-toddler. One time when he was almost 2-years-old we got pulled out of the line to get on the plane to be “double checked” by TSA. When we stepped aside to be wanded, the TSA agent told me to put my son on the rubber pad and to remove his shoes and then instructed me to “step aside”. They whisked my son away from me, a good 8 feet or more, and left me standing there holding his little shoes. Again, he was just shy of his 2nd birthday. They made him stand on the rubber mat with his feet apart and his arms out to his sides as they proceeded to wand him. I remember his little face looking at me confused and about to cry. I looked at him and smiled and told him it was ok, it was like the “lava” game. I took this moment and made it a game, even with a baby-toddler.

This experience could have made the flight an awful one had I complained, let the negative thoughts that entered my head stay and if I had projected it onto my tiny boy. Yes, I had many, many negative thoughts about this experience and it took everything in my power to flip them. What in the h*ll were they doing singling out my baby? I instead flipped it and thought “I’m so glad they are taking extra security precautions to keep us safe”. This made the rest of the trip way more enjoyable and I used it as a teachable moment with positive-parenting and positive words.

Sometimes positive words are F’n hard to find when you feel like you’re a frazzled hot mess running to catch a flight you’re late for, toddler in tow. Sign-up for the blog to hear positive-parenting and positive-words tips and tricks for all your travels, in the car, on the bus, the plane and more, including the free digital download book of “Toddler Travels”!

Until next time!

Shannon Sukovaty
Artistic Director & Imagination Wrangler
Creating Arts Company/CAC Studios