'Super Flyers:' Dr. Lori Baudino Guides Parents on How to Stay Grounded while Up in the Air

01/17/2018 07:34 pm ET
Dr. Lori Baudino

Dr. Lori Baudino is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, and Board-Certified Dance Movement Therapist in Los Angeles. Having received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and, Masters in Creative Arts Therapy, Dr. Baudino has been a practicing clinician for over a decade. She is the National Clinical Spokesperson for The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, which brought the first Dance/Movement Therapy Programs to Children's Hospital Los Angeles; where, Dr. Baudino provides bedside therapy to children with cancer, and special needs. In private practice, she specializes in supporting children identified with early life traumas, academic/behavioral/emotional challenges; as well as children on the Autism Spectrum, or with sensory processing differences.

Dr. Baudino explained that Dance Movement Therapy has been around for 50 years; and, is unique in its understanding that, there are universal ways of communicating - through movement. She noted that the feelings/experiences that occur within the body connect strongly with how we relate to ourselves, other people, and to the environment. Dr. Baudino emphasized the importance of understanding how our emotions are linked to our movements, and experiences, in everyday life. This “bottom-up” approach, according to Dr. Baudino, is as important as the “top-down” approach of neuroscience, and, “talk therapy.” Especially with small children, Dr. Baudino highlights how, when we “embody” our emotions, we can learn about our patterns; for example: "every time I talk about ‘x’, my shoulders get tense and look like this." Children will often just start to move, and will tell a story through movement - maybe they're "stuck in a jungle," for example – essentially mirroring what they are going through internally.

Dr. Lori Baudino
Super Flyers
Dr. Lori Baudino

Dr. Baudino’s new, intentionally pocket-sized guidebook, “Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel with Children,” mixes two of her favorite topics: Parenting and Travel.

Dr. Baudino recalled traveling with her husband and children, since her children were infants; joking that, she has become, “the Therapist for the airplane.” Dr. Baudino had observed, early on, that the airplane is an isolated environment, in which a parent and child have hours of undivided attention – which, yes, provides challenges, but also offers a unique opportunity for families to connect/engage with each other.

Dr. Baudino discovered that there are many analogies between parenting and travel – “flying by the seat of your pants,” trying to stay "grounded" when things are "up in the air," etc. She notes, however, that, if, you can master parenting in the sky, you can master parenting on the ground. Even for parents who have a good handle on things, the pressure of the other passengers possibly judging them; and, the overall confined experience of flying, can sometimes be very stressful, and make you forget what to do in the moment.

“Super Flyers” offers a step-by-step guide for parents (and kids); starting with the mindset at the beginning of the travel experience, and the preparation that can help along the way. Dr. Baudino explained that transitions are quite difficult for children; and, since traveling is one big transition, if you master certain techniques in the air, you'll be able to master many other significant transitions in your child’s life. Think about it - even adults get out of their comfort zones during transitions, which can lead to high anxiety. Since children are constantly looking to their parents, and modeling what they’re being shown, it's an opportunity to set one’s child up for success, before travel begins.

Dr. Baudino has included handwritten memos, from her own children (ages 6 and 8), so that young flyers can engage, and feel empowered – by truly understanding their own capabilities. She explained that this can be something as simple as a child packing/carrying their own luggage. However, Dr. Baudino emphasized that she does not take a, “cookie-cutter” approach; that, it is very important to know your own child's individual differences (as well as cultural/religious norms/what's important to your family, etc.), and modify accordingly.

“Super Flyers” is divided into chapters, which are broken into easy-to-remember acronyms, such as, “Aim, Humor, and Happiness” (A.H.H.). Here’s an idea of how simply it can be put into practice:

Aim - 24 hours before travel should have little, or nothing, to do with traveling. This means doing your best to pack, finish up work, and keep as consistent of a routine as possible – emphasizing to your child that traveling is “normal,” and familiar. As opposed to running around/screaming about being late, the “A.H.H.” approach will help you avoid additional stress/misunderstandings on the plane; if the child associates travel with, "chaos" – then, you’re setting the child, and yourself, up for unneeded negativity. But if you take the time to prepare, then it’s smooth sailing (or flying)!

Humor/Happiness – Keep things lighthearted, and avoid using “blame” words; rather, tell your child what you want them to do, how they can be helpful, etc. - connect with each other, so that if they go through challenges with traveling, you use that opportunity to engage, and support them. They will join you, and help the situation flow better.

Dr. Baudino commented that therapy works because you go to a set-environment, to have the space to be heard, seen, and accepted. The travel experience, also, provides an isolated opportunity, to practice the skills you should be using all the time; to further build a relationship with your child, and to build your child's awareness of other people/cultures. This, Dr. Baudino and I, agreed, is a wonderful thing. And “Super Flyers” is an easy, helpful resource along the way. Happy flying!

To learn more about Dr. Lori Baudino please visit: www.Drloribaudino.com

To purchase, ‘Super Flyers,’ click here

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