Most parents who've ever traveled with the kids have memories involving tantrums and turmoil when getting the crew from point A to point B. (iPad died? You're a goner. Snacks ran out? Sayonara.)
Among said parents is Savannah Guthrie, who opened up to The New York Times about trying as often as possible to bring her two children, daughter Vale, 4, and son Charley, 1, along for her globetrotting journeys, both on the job and on vacations.
The TODAY anchor shared how she and husband Michael Feldman keep chaos to a minimum with a little thing they dubbed "pirate rules."
Savannah's daughter, Vale, has the perfect remedy for a 'hot, hot day'
"We are pretty strict about screen time at home but our basic policy for travel is 'Pirate Rules' — which, loosely translated, means 'anything goes,'" Savannah told the Times.
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"We let Vale watch movies for a long time if it keeps her happy and under control," she continued. "Same rule for snacks — we let them have treats they wouldn’t normally have if it keeps the peace. We are doing it for fellow passengers as much as ourselves.
Repeat: I am not a short-order cook. "It's a child's job to learn to eat what the parents eat," says Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian and the author of Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family. Instead of the all-or-nothing scenario, offer a variety of foods at mealtime: the main course, plus rice or pasta, a fruit or vegetable, and milk. This way, your child can eat just the pasta and the peas and get protein from the milk. "What a child eats over the course of a day or a week is more important than a balanced meal at one sitting," says Stephen Daniels, the chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora.
But as mentioned, every parent has their challenging moments. Savannah also told the Times about taking Vale, then 2, and Charley, then 6 months, to her home state of Arizona to surprise her mom.
"It was the classic situation," she recalled. "It was a night flight so I thought my daughter would crash. Nope. She was bouncing off the walls, running up and down the aisle, introducing herself to all the passengers until about 20 minutes before landing when she finally fell fast asleep and was none too happy when we had to wake her up to get off the plane."
But even the chance of chaos is worth the risk for Savannah and Michael. And even though the kiddos are still a bit young to truly enjoy the adventures, the family has had meaningful moments abroad, such as Vale experiencing the joys of the Greek islands.
"I always wish my kids were with me," Savannah added. "I often fly all night on red-eyes for work trips just to limit my time apart from them. I had to leave them home for the Olympics in Korea this year. I wish they were with me because I missed them terribly for two weeks. But I can’t wait until they’re older and they can come with me. They’ll feel as lucky as I do to get to see the world."
Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Media can be very effective in keeping kids calm and quiet, but it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, come up with activities to manage boredom, or calm down through breathing, talking about ways to solve the problem, and finding other strategies for channeling emotions.