Traveling With Kids Can Be Fun
There is nothing quite like the excitement of a young kid when a plane first takes off and they see the Earth getting small below them, but flying with kids can also be a chaotic experience if you're not ready. Here are some tips for flying with children that will make your next flight a more enjoyable experience.
The Key Tips For Young Flyers
To keep the kids happy during the flight you need to be prepared, and the way to do that is to keep them busy. Let's assume that the children are not going to fall asleep right away and snooze the whole way like a business traveler might, so we can't count on that. Here are some key things that should be in your bag (or theirs) for the flight.
The key ingredient to a happy kid on a plane is one that is not hungry. If you think "I'm hungry" is annoying in the car, just wait until you hear it on the plane. Be prepared with an appropriate snack for the flight. That is one that is easy to eat, not messy, and will last a long time. Here's a tip. A cookie is not a good choice. Animal crackers or goldfish are.
You never know when you might need a quick change of a shirt or pants. It could be from spilled soda or water or something else, but a wet or sticky kid is an unhappy kid. Be prepared with a set of clothes in the carry on just in case.
Gum is a great thing to have on the plane for two reasons. First, it takes care of the sweet tooth for a long time without lots of candy. Second, chewing gum can help kids with the air pressure that is felt during takeoff or descent. It will help their ears which is a good thing. Don't be afraid to dole out a stick early in the flight and at the end.
Having a small activity or two on the plane is wonderful for kids. Think about something that takes little space in a bag but keeps them entertained for a long time. Of course if they are old enough a handheld video game would be great, but a coloring book or activity book can do wonders as well. Consider a "special" activity, like a new magnetic game or an activity that they normally do not get. It will be well worth it.
Money? Well, yes. If all else fails you may find that a soda or snack for purchase is what you need to get another hour towards your destination. So many people travel with little cash these days, but make sure you have some money on the plane in case you need it.
Other Good Ideas
On top of what you bring along, here are some tips for when you bring kids on the plane that will also help.
This goes for not only the kids, but you too. Dress appropriately. Think about layers. How many times have you gotten in flight and been too hot or too cold. As an adult you can take it, painful as it is, but your toddler or young child is not going to be so forgiving. Make sure what you dress them in will be comfortable whether it is cool or hot in the plane.
Don't just bring your kids to the airport without telling them what's up. You need to start the process days in advance. Discuss what it's like to fly, what sights and sounds they will hear, and what proper behavior is on a plane. Explain that others will be trying to rest and it is "quiet time" if that helps you. A kids who is not ready may suffer anxiety or be obnoxious unnecessarily. A talk or two beforehand can cut or greatly reduce this.
Don't expect to rush through the airport. You will need a little extra time when traveling with young children. That means you need to get to the airport a little earlier than normal and your layovers should be a little longer than normal unless you simply don't have that option. Remember, a kid will be thirsty, hungry, and have to go to the bathroom just at the wrong times. Expect that and make the time to keep yourself and them sane.
You Can Do It
If you are prepared and follow these tips you will be okay. You can do this. The last thing that you need to enjoy the trip is patience. Remember, they are just kids. You're going to have to be patient to make the trip the best it can be for them, the other passengers, and yourself. You can do this.
Follow these key tips for flying with children, and you'll be off to a great start. Good luck!