Every air traveller’s worst nightmare seems to be getting stuck next to a screaming child for an eight hour flight.
But when you’re that child’s parent, the nightmare can be worse. You don’t have to hold your breath and hope for the best. Here are some tips for flying with kids without alienating other passengers and losing your mind:
1) Keep your expectations realistic
Air travel can be tough on children (as well as adults). Don’t expect perfect behaviour, and don’t freak out if your child acts up. Stay calm so you can deal with whatever problems come up.
2) Explain the journey
Prepare children for what they’re likely to encounter during the trip: crowds, delays, strangers, etc.
Practice going through an airport screening line. They’ll feel better knowing what to expect.
3) Decide between direct vs connecting flights
A direct flight eliminates the need to rush through strange airport slugging your bags and dragging your children to meet your next plane.
On the other hand, a connecting flight can give your children a much needed break.
4) Decide which kind of trip suits your needs and your children best
Schedule naps. If possible, pick a flight that coincides with your kids’ sleep schedule.
If they can take a nap at their usual time, or get a good night’s sleep on a redeye, they’ll be more refreshed and better behaved when you arrive.
5) Visit your doctor before your flight
Check with your doctor that your child isn’t suffering from an ear infection that will make changes in cabin pressure painful.
6) Dress for comfort.
Choose clothes that kids can relax in. Dress in layers, as temperatures can fluctuate in airports and aboard planes.
Pack an extra shirt, pants and underwear per child in your carry on in case of accidents. Also take some spare nappies especially for toddlers if not fully trained yet.
7) Bring games and snacks
Be sure to provide adequate books, games, and toys to occupy kids during the flight (and while you’re waiting).
Carry a few snacks so you don’t have to rely on flight attendants or overpriced airport meals to feed hungry cranky kids.
Try these tips next time you fly, I hope it is an enjoyable one.
Have you ever travelled on a plane with your kids, how did you cope? Any tips or tricks you would like to share? Leave your comments below.