Dear parents worrying about taking your kids on a flight,
As someone who just took four toddlers on a flight from Vietnam to Boston, here's our advice:
Don't worry about anyone else except for the well-being of your children and yourself.
Don't worry if your kid doesn't want to sit still.
Don't worry if your kid cries.
Don't worry if your kids makes noises when they are excited.
Don't worry if your kid runs up and down the aisles.
Don't worry if your kid leaves a few crumbs on the ground.
Don't worry if your kid turns the reading light on and off…
Don't worry what others may think of you as a parent.
Worry about your kids well-being.
Worry whether your kid is happy.
Worry whether their diaper is clean.
Worry about the logistics of wherever you're going.
Worry about things that are IN your control.
No doubt—every passenger deserves a comfortable in-flight experience and you should do everything in your power to help this. BUT, kids are not robots and we can't control their every move—no matter how much we prepare. They are kids. They will be kids.They will act like kids.
Be respectful but don't waste your time worrying what others think. This silly idea that we must apologize for traveling with children is slowly becoming the norm and it's ridiculous.
Again, this doesn't mean letting your kids go crazy. It doesn't mean being disrespectful and making a mess and not cleaning it up. Or letting your kids scream the entire flight and not trying to make them happy (though sometimes this is unavoidable). It means to do your best and shake the rest off.
And to those that are flying without children: Tolerance and a positive attitude will go a long way.
By the way—our kids were not well behaved on the 13-hour leg. They did not sleep. They cried often. They made crumbs. It was hard for us because we were exhausted. We probably took over 10,000 steps up and down the aisles. But, now it's over and in the past and we already forgot about the other passengers on the flight.