Traveling with children can be a challenge. Flying with kids a double challenge. Crying..screaming..kicking and throwing up. We all have seen those harried parents with equally harried kids in tow. No one wants to sit near them. Those lucky few who do would gladly change seats, sometimes for a small few for first class. But that is just part of flying.
Kids are going to be mean and cranky. Parents are going to look as if they’d rather die than get on that plane with their offspring…!? Right? Not always. There are ways to help your plane travels go smoother and keep your kids happier on that plane. Read on for some of my tips for keeping your kids happy on a plane. Good luck!… and keep smiling!
1. Make sure you and your kids are well rested. I know this is hard when you are traveling but it is a must for all. Let somethings go and get that needed rest. The night before your plane trip keep everything at home the same as every other night if possible. Stick to your kids routine if they are little and put them to bed at their regular time. Spend time with them and take a few minutes to give them attention. Give them baths and snacks to get them in the resting mode. Don’t keep your kids up half the night in the hopes that they will sleep on the plane. They might not and you will just end up with loss of sleep yourself and tired cranky kids the next day.
2. Dress your kids in comfy clothes that are highly washable and layered. Save those fancy duds for when you arrive and spare yourself the stress of thinking that junior has to be spotless. Believe me you will be glad you listened to me. Comfortable shoes are a must too. There could be lots of walking before you get in that plane seat. If your kids feet hurt from new shoes you will never hear the end of it. Pack at least 1 or 2 extra sets of clothing in a carry on for each child under 9. Bring plastic bags to put the dirty ones in if you need to change your child. Hoodies or light jackets to layer are great for taking on or off as the situation demands.
3. Snacks and drinks. Pack snacks that your child enjoys in your carry on or diaper bag. Pre-packaged items like apple slices, cheese sticks and animal crackers are great. So are trail mix, fruit bars and crackers with cheese or peanut butter. I love anything that is in individual packages and not messy. Do not depend on the airline to provide snacks. I have been on several in the last year or so that did not offer anything and I was glad I have things for my 1 year old. Buy bottled water or juice after you get through security as it will be taken away from you. Get one drink per person for on the plane. Again I have been on an airplane recently and no drink was offered that my daughter could have. So plan to take your own and you will be a head of the game.
4. Pack toys and games for your kids. Basically anything that your child loves to do is great for the plane. In a carry on or diaper bag pack washable crayons, markers or those color wonder markers and books to go with them. Believe me you will be glad they are washable. Books, travel games or your child hand held game systems are must as well. Just don’t forget batteries and charger. I also loved the DVD players…my daughter could watch her favorite sing-a-long DVD’s and be happy…bring the charger and Sony’s New Industry Leading Noise Canceling WH-1000XM3 Headphones for that as well. They can listen all day with up to 30 hours of battery life. Which is great for those lengthy layovers. Though if your battery does run a bit low, feel confident with a quick charge that gives five hours of playback with just a 10-minute charge!
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5 Make regular “potty” stops part of your plan too. When you are booking your flight make sure you have at least an hour or a little more between flights for breaks. Seek out kid play areas in the airports if you have real young kids. These are great and I highly recommend them. Get something to eat before the next flight and either save it to eat on the flight or make sure you have enough time at the airport. Arriving at your next destination hungry is a big mistake and no matter what you think…waiting til later to eat is not going to work.
6. I always tried to book my flights when it was around or near the time my kid would normally nap. She always slept an entire flight and woke up somewhat happy. If your children are still napping this may be an idea for you. Take their “luvies” and whatever they need to sleep and encourage them to rest at least.
7. Last but not least. If your child is old enough purchase a harness and let them walk around to stretch their legs in the airport. This will help get out energy and let them explore. But last of all remember… no matter what your child is doing…Smile and keep your cool. With these tips and ideas hopefully your plane flight will be somewhat less stressful for you all..but if not..just grin and bear it..we all have at one point or another..you are not alone!