Flying with kids can give parents major anxiety. Whether your child is a toddler, a preschooler, or even older, they could get anxious or scared due to the change in scene and many unknown people around. An incredibly active child might find it extremely challenging confining to a seat through an entire trip, while other children might get overly excited about the new adventure ahead.
Children can become cranky and irritated in the blink of an eye, and before you know it, they may have a huge meltdown in a metal box flying at 30,000 feet above the ground and full of people who might disapprove of a crying and irritable child.
If the mere thought of flying with your children is giving you the jitters, worry not. We give you 20 of the best tips for flying with kids. These tips will ensure you travel anytime and anywhere you want with your kids without breaking a sweat.
20 Tips For Flying With Kids
When traveling with a child, you need to plan and pack everything in advance. There is nothing you can leave to chance. Meticulous planning will help you get everything in place before you step out of your house.
Consider the following tips when flying with children.
1. Book early
Airline tickets are issued by computers. They do not know if you have a two-year-old and might assign you and the rest of the family seats at the opposite ends of the plane. To avoid such a nightmarish scenario, make sure you book your seats early and take care to double-check your seat reservations before booking.
2. Opt for relaxed flights
If there are layovers in your trip, select an airline that offers the longest layovers. While traveling with children, you must remember to relax and take it easy. Do not hurry your children, and let them enjoy the trip without having to worry about time.
3. Travel in the morning
If you are planning to travel on a night flight so that you can sleep on it and wake up in the morning, you might want to reconsider the plan. Your child will most likely be cranky with the change of scene, and an irritable child would most likely disturb other passengers’ sleep on the plane. You will draw undue wrath from others. Plan a morning flight when you have children.
4. Delegate duties
When traveling with children, the key lies in delegating duties intelligently. If one parent is the toddler’s caretaker, the other parent can look after the luggage or older children. Whatever you do, make sure you take up only so much work as you can manage. Managing a baby in an aircraft is full-time work, even when they are sleeping, so plan accordingly.
The best way to go on an airplane journey with your children is to be prepared. No matter how long or short the flight, it is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when children fly with you.
6. Make friends with other parents
Believe it or not, there will be other parents of little children who are equally terrified of flying with their young ones. Befriend them at the boarding area. Ask them simple questions and keep them on your side. It helps both parties when either of your children has a massive meltdown.
7. Board early
Early boarding is one of the best privileges you can get as a parent of a young child. Many airlines offer early boarding facilities to people traveling with small children. Boarding early gives you the chance to store your hand luggage comfortably before the others start coming in and acquaint your child with the surroundings a bit better.
8. Carry snacks
No matter how much your child loves food, it will be a totally new environment for them, and they will not relish the foods available on the airline menu. Carry their favorite snacks. Gummy bears and chocolates can stop tears faster than you can say your child’s name.
9. Engage them in activities
While snacks are a must, you cannot always keep feeding your child to keep them quiet. You need some activities to keep them occupied for at least some time. Carry your iPad, Kindle, handheld games, sticker books, coloring books, picture books, storybooks, board games, cards, dice, crayons, markers, pens, or stuffed animals. Nothing can be too much when you have a child with you.
10. Carry the car seat
This might seem counterintuitive to some, but carrying a car seat in an airplane might be the answer to many of your problems. Your child is already used to sitting in a car seat; so, instead of making them sit on an unfamiliar seat where they will most likely feel uneasy, strap on the car seat, put your child in it, and let them relax.
11. Pack lots of diapers
Carry enough diapers for your little one. You will not get diapers on an airplane, so you need to bring as many as you want in your hand luggage to avoid sticky situations. Always remember to dispose of used diapers properly during a flight. Do not flush it down the toilet.
12. Take the stroller
We cannot stress this enough. If you check in your stroller, you will be holding a cranky baby in your arms while waiting for the long luggage claim line to bring up the stroller while deplaning. It’s not the best scenario. Instead, take the stroller with you and use it to the full.
13. Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself
Everyone packs extra for children. But what about the parents? You must put in an extra set of clothes for yourselves so that you have something in some situations. For instance, if your child vomits or poops on you, you have an alternative ready.
14. Carry a soft blanket
If your child has a favorite blanket, take it along. It gives comfort to your child as they are familiar with it. Many airlines do not offer blankets, so a soft blanket will serve you well.
15. Carry disposable sippy cups
One of the biggest problems children and adults face in airplanes is blocked ears. While adults can chew gum to relieve the pressure, children find it painful and frightening. Get disposable sippy cups they can suck on to ease the pressure. Children usually suck for comfort, and these sippy cups will come in handy.
16. Dress in layers
This is equally important for both parents and children. Instead of putting on a thick sweater, make your child wear clothes in layers. This will help immensely when cabin temperatures vary.
17. Once seated, remain seated
It might seem very tempting to you to let your child walk around once the plane takes off. But, often, it doesn’t help much and causes more trouble. Your toddler will not take it kindly when returning to sit again while landing, and they are likely to disturb other passengers unknowingly.
18. Don’t fly after a vaccination
Vaccinations are good, but not before a trip. Vaccinated children might get anything from fever to diarrhea, and it is not advisable to travel within a week of vaccination. Schedule your trip such that your child gets ample time to get back in good health after vaccination.
19. Time your surprises
If your child’s flying for the first time, let them enjoy the entire process. If they are not cranky, do not offer them their favorite snacks or entertainment. Let them explore, and offer them their favorite things one at a time only when they are on the verge of crying. This way, they will be occupied for a longer time.
20. Spend extra for entertainment
While you can carry a few of their favorite toys, their crankiness might soon overcome them. Instead, spend some bucks on new toys that can make them feel happier during the flight. Unleash each toy one at a time and only when they seem irritated so that they are happy throughout the flight.
When flying with kids, the best thing you can do is go with the flow. If you are usually against screen time or offering candies, consider alternatives to keep your baby or child engaged. If your child associates the trip with positive experiences, there are chances they will cooperate the next time around, too. With these tips for flying with kids, we are sure you will have a good experience.