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Brighter Days: 5 Top Tips for Taking Day Trips

Jennifer Bright on

According to a recent survey by a business how-to and news website called Manifest, 67% of Americans said they did not feel comfortable flying right now.

Personally, I canceled my family's long-awaited trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate my 50th birthday -- not a decision I made lightly! Instead, my family has taken a few day trips, and I'm looking forward to one more getaway later this month.

Here's what our Mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- do to keep their own families safe and sane on day trips.

"Everywhere I went with my children, I took a bag of supplies," says Aline Tanios, M.D., a mom of four children and a pediatric hospitalist at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis. "It included baby wipes, a change of clothes for everyone and some antiseptic spray. That was very handy if someone fell and scraped their knee. It stopped the drama quickly."

"It's important to take toddlers places and to expose them to new experiences, but it's not easy," says Kate Tulenko, M.D., MPH, a mom of two daughters, the author of "Insourced: How Importing Jobs Impacts the Healthcare Crisis Here and Abroad" and CEO of Corvus Health, a global health consultancy. "You need to bring a lot of food and toys. And you need to moderate your expectations. Your experience isn't going to be the same as it was before you had kids."

"I find that it's helpful to go places with friends who also have kids," Tulenko continues. "This gives us more adults to hold and distract the kids and more hands to help. You can ask your friend, 'How about if you hold the baby for 10 minutes while I watch the game, and then we'll switch?' Also, children entertain other children, and it helps to shift kids' attention to someone other than you!"

"During the toddler years, I kept a schedule for the kids and myself," says Laura Rosch, D.O., a mom of three children, a board-certified internist who works at Central DuPage Hospital Convenient Care Centers in Winfield, Illinois, and an instructor in the department of family medicine at the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois. "I planned outings almost daily Monday through Friday. We live in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, so there are a million things we can do. We would go to the zoo (free admission!), park-district classes, planned playgroup and swimming. Additionally, Chicago is filled with wonderful parks with things to climb on and play with. I would go online to find a park near our house and take the kids there for a picnic lunch.


"I wasn't a schedule freak, but I made loose plans in case of rain or illness. Toddlers can change moods like the weather in Chicago, and it helps to be flexible. Some of the fondest memories I have are taking the kids to the children's theaters and free book readings offered at the library. My children love the arts to this day."

"When I took my boys on a trip when they were little, such as to a museum, I didn't necessarily dress them alike," says Deborah Gilboa, M.D., a mom of four sons, a family physician with Squirrel Hill Health Center in Pittsburgh, and a parenting speaker whose advice is found at the website Ask Doctor G. "But I did often dress them in the same bright color. 'Why do you keep dressing the boys in orange shirts?' my husband asked me once. 'Because I would like to bring all of the children home,' I answered."

"I always kept my eyes on my kids on day trips," says Susan Wilder, M.D., a mom of three grown daughters, a primary care physician, CEO and founder of Lifescape Medical Associates, and author of "Mouths of Babes: Everything I Learned in Medicine, I Learned from My Kids," in Scottsdale, Arizona. "When I was 8 years old, I was abducted. I had a high sense of vigilance about my kids getting lost or abducted. In places like malls or parks, I held their hands or made sure they were strapped into their strollers."


Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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