Flying Solo with Young Children: Single Parent Hacks

One of the most daunting aspects of our family trip to France this past year was knowing that I would be parenting alone for a month and then flying home with my three young children on two flights (totaling 9 hours) until we could rejoin my husband in Oregon. Thankfully, those experiences were mostly smooth, and not worth stressing over far in advance (as we parents are prone to do). Recently, however, one of my close friends told me that she will be flying alone with her three children on more than twenty hours of flights, and she's asked me for advice. Here are the hacks I suggest:

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Beginning February: L'Amour and Crêpes

Février est arrivée--Now that it's February, I'm glad to guide my children through some simple activities connected to love and light. One of the clearest descriptions of love, the apostle Paul's summary in 1 Corinthians 13, lends itself to a simple bilingual project:

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Playing in Paris with Little Ones: What Local Families Know

Bonjour les amis! We've been back from France for four months now and I'm feeling the distance. It's been nice to send and receive new year's cards this month (as the French do so throughout the month of January), but a completely unreasonable part of me wishes we could have stayed for the whole school year! Some of you are hoping to take your children to Paris someday soon just as my husband and I did. If you go, you should know about these two lesser-known family-oriented places that will give your children opportunities to play and speak in French:

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A French Language Progress Update: 3 Months After Our Extended Stay in France

This past Christmas Eve marked three months since my children and I returned from France, so it's fair to say that the French usage patterns that we still have now are the patterns that will endure for a while. Before we left I was so curious about how an extended stay in France would affect and impact our family's bilingual development! Everyone knows that language immersion will improve one's ability to understand and use a language, but exactly how much language fluency can a child gain in a few months of immersion? Here's what happened for our family:

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Joyeux Noël & A Podcast about Our Family Language Trip

Joyeux Noël, les amis! Yes, Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas! I have a little gift for you if you listen to podcasts and are interested in traveling as a family to help you or your children improve your bilingual skills! You see, Marianna DuBosq at Bilingual Avenue has just released the 100th episode of the Bilingual Avenue podcast, and in this episode, Polish mama & translator Hanna Cheda and I share about how we took our families overseas for amazing language immersion experiences. I give details about how we saved money for the trip, how my children handled the experience, and how I enrolled my daughter in a French school. Hanna shares about locating affordable family housing and finding free immersion experiences for children. I hope you love what you learn!

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3 Short Bedtime Questions that Help Me Understand My Children

Every parenting book and magazine seems to point out the importance of having a bedtime routine to help children prepare to sleep, but my favorite part of our children's bedtime routine is the part that helps me understand who they are and what they value. You see, I ask the same three simple questions every night, but hearing their unique and changing answers has taught me quite a lot about their interests, perceptions, and personalities. It's also helped me understand some of the tough emotional situations that I couldn't untangle during the day. Here's what I ask (in French, but also included here in English):

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Responding to the November 13th Paris Attacks: What Syria's Got to Do with It

Oh it was a heartbreaking weekend, wasn’t it?! The news of the Paris attacks was just shocking and sickening; to learn of Parisians being targeted with such intentional cruelty brings us all to a standstill. During my time in Paris this last July, my husband, children and I stayed just blocks from the Bataclan—it’s in an area of Paris that has been gaining popularity with its up and coming restaurants, not far from the iconic Place de la République. On Friday night, Facebook’s safety check system was quick to show that my friends in and around Paris were safe, but the unraveling news stories still cut to my heart as it became apparent that young people were targeted and that French culture itself was attacked.

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