What I Wish Parents Knew
Sit in the middle of the airplane. "The middle of the plane—equidistant from the front and back—is quieter and less bumpy during turbulence," says Wendy Stroud, a former flight attendant for Delta Air Lines who lives in Dallas. "Also, a bottle during takeoff and landing helps to minimize the pressure in babies' ears."
Let them walk a mile (or a few steps) in their shoes. "Parents buy shoes too big because they are worried that their kids will grow out of them quickly. But the kids can't walk in them," says Kara Blazier, a sales associate at Pout...A Child's Boutique, in La Jolla, California. Have your child walk around the store to test new shoes. In addition, buy another pair one size up. You'll save a trip to the store in six months (about the time it takes to grow one size).
Order the kids' meals ASAP. "Order the kids' food when you order the adult appetizers. Then the kids don't have to wait," says Stephanie Taylor, manager of a T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in Phoenix. Kids also take longer to eat, so a head start means everyone finishes at once. She also recommends putting kids on the inside seat of a booth: "It's easier to keep them sitting down."
Give your babysitter a yearly bonus. Find a good sitter? "Pay her a bonus once a year or give her a $1 an hour raise after a while," says Genevieve Thiers, founder and CEO of sittercity.com, a listing of qualified babysitters nationwide. It makes the sitter feel appreciated and gives her an incentive to stay.