10 Tips for Flying with Kids
- The best offence is a good defense
Flying puts no one in a good mood – especially kids. It’s important to anticipate them being tired, bored and hungry. In order to combat this, make sure you pack some easy, sure to please snacks. Additionally, pack your children’s favourite toy. Whether it’s a Game Boy, an iPad, a book, or a stuffed animal – bring something that will pique their interests. If your plane offers children’s TV or movies, make sure to pack an extra set of headphones so they can watch during the flight. If not, load up your tablet or laptop with some children’s TV shows or movies in advance. Lastly, make sure your child has the opportunity to sleep. Don’t shy away from asking a flight attendant for extra pillows or blankets to facilitate this.
Another aspect of flight preparation is explaining to your child exactly what is happening and what they can expect before, after and during the flight. From checking in, to baggage check, boarding, take off, landing – the whole shebang! It’s important to get them excited about flying because for young ones flying can be a scary experience. To make sure your child is especially prepared, run through a mock check in scenario at home!
Perhaps the scariest part of flying for kids is takeoff and landing. Make sure their favourite stuffed animal or doll is readily available and offer them your hand to hold during this time period.
Treats are a great motivator for anyone. If you buy some of your child’s favourite candy or even purchase some little knickknacks from the dollar store, giving these during takeoff and landing can be an excellent distraction. Alternatively, if you’re on a very long flight, sporadically give them out during the flight!
- Stretch Your Legs
Its no secret that kids get antsy sitting in one spot for more than 30 minutes, so don’t feel awkward about stretching you legs and walking up and down the aisle during the duration of the flight. This is great because its important to stretch but also because your child will likely love the attention they get from the other passengers on the plane. Who knows, maybe there will be another child that they can chat with for a little awhile.
- Seat Them in the Middle
This tip is especially important for long flights, seating your child in the middle ensures that you and your partner have full control over what your child is doing. If you’re travelling solo this is equally important, be sure to situate yourself in the aisle seat to ensure that you can see if your child is trying to get into the aisle or leave their seat.
- Research Airline Assistance
Many airlines offer a variety of assistance options for flying with children. Some airlines offer bassinets and child restraint seats among other things. It is important to book any additional assistance well in advance to ensure availability. Furthermore, if you’re bringing a stroller or any other equipment double check that what you’re planning to bring is allowed on the airline.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’re overwhelmed by a situation with your child during the flight, attendants are often excellent in assisting with your child. If they’re especially nice, they may even be willing to give you a little break!
We all know the uncomfortable feeling of our ears popping during takeoff and landing. This sensation may be especially uncomfortable for children, especially if they have never experienced this sensation before. To make matters trickier, children’s ears, sinuses and draining tubes are not quite as developed as ours. Depending on your child’s age, encourage them to swallow, open and close their jaw, chew gum or a gummy treat and even yawn if they’re compliant. Additionally, it’s important to wake your sleeping baby or child because the pain can actually be worse while they are sleeping.
- 10. Don’t Underestimate a Hug!
Cuddles and calming phrases can do wonders to ease your child’s anxiety while flying. Singing a little lullaby or favourite song and rubbing their back are simple yet incredibly effective ways to make your child’s flying experience a little less scary!