One of the most common questions I hear from friends and family would have to be: “How are your kids on the plane?” When I respond with, “They are really good actually,” I’m often met with surprise and raised eyebrows. It’s not that my children are unusually well behaved − though I like to think so − but there are a few strategies I’ve learned along the way that can assist in lessening the stress and struggle.
My top tips for making flying with kids easier
If your children are old enough, tell them what to expect when they get on the plane. Talk about sleeping on the plane, especially if your flight is a long one, what their seat will look like and perhaps show them videos that can help them visually prepare. If this is their first time on an plane, expect that they children may find this experience overwhelming, intriguing and unusual.
The temptation is to pack everything your child could possibly need. Rest assured, they won’t need much at all. Ensure you pack essentials for your children, but avoid packing noisy or fiddly toys that could frustrate them. If they are very small, comforting toys, a pacifier or a small blanket is ideal. For older kids, an iPad, book, journal and a set of headphones is all they really need. If you are going on a short flight and wont have inflight entertainment consider bring something that can amuse them for lengthier periods of time like an ipad, book or game.
If your airline allows you to bring food, then bring it. Kids often nap at the worst time (e.g. just when you are about to land or when the food arrives). My rule has been to send the food away and allow my children to sleep rather than wake them just because it’s meal time. Often they turn their nose up at it anyway. Packing some easy snacks can keep your kids’ hunger at bay until the next meal.
I make sure my kids run around a bit at the airport, prior to boarding and during lay-overs. It’s important they stretch their legs, burn off some energy and basically just be kids. Find an area in the airport where they can move around − some airports have designated playgrounds. This way, when they do sit down, they are less likely to get the fidgets after the first hour into the flight.
Walk Around on the plane
Getting up to go for a walk through the aisle is another great way to break up a long journey. Often I go with them and in our experience the hostesses are most accommodating of families have a little stretch time . Let them go on their own if you feel ok about it. This can give them a sense of independence and gain confidence in the flying experience.
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