What’s worse than sitting next to an oversharing, gossipy talker on a long flight? Sitting next to a screaming baby? Or maybe being the parent of a screaming child and trying everything to calm your sweet pea down while dodging the icy glares and annoying sighs of fellow travelers. Yep, that could be the worst!
Flying with kids requires a lot of upfront planning and stowing a few tricks up your sleeve, besides extra tissues, to ensure a smooth flight for your child, for you, and for everyone else.
Check out our list for tips on Flying with Kids.
Sometimes you “need to go” when you need to go, but if you have flexibility with your scheduling keep these things in mind:
- Coordinate flight times with your normal routines. Shorter flights are great for “nap time.”
- Late night or red-eye flights are typically bad for children’s scheduled because they don’t allow for a full night’s sleep. They can also make the next day harder due to everyone’s lack of sleep.
- When possible book direct flights. The fewer layovers the fewer opportunities for meltdowns.
- Pick kid-friendly airports. Airports are trending toward becoming destinations themselves with play areas, movie theatres, family restaurants, butterfly gardens and more. Related: World’s Best Airports
- Request seats toward the back of the plane closer to the bathroom.
Talk to your kids about what to expect on the plane. Some things to remember are check in procedures, the security x-ray machine, the sounds a plane makes, takeoff and landing feelings and noises, other passengers, what the flight attendants do, and where the pilots sit.
Don’t set your expectations too high that everything will go smoothly. Flying with kids is not relaxing for parents. You probably won’t sleep, your kids will get crabby at some point, and most of your time will be spent feeding and entertaining your children. Try not to schedule anything too strenuous or hectic for the day you arrive or return. You’re going to be tired enough.
Get Travel Insurance
Health Insurance doesn’t always include international coverage, especially something like overseas medical transportation. Be sure your family is covered so you can travel with peace of mind. Don’t have a plan?…GET A PLAN
As a parent you know you don’t go to the grocery store without your ten pound diaper bag arsenal of fending off any possibly disaster and flying with kids should be on different. In fact, here are some additional things to help with the flight.
- Pick nutritious over sugary and pick uncrushable food like granola bars, dried fruit (not fresh) and cut up vegetables that won’t easily be smashed in the shuffle.
- Baby Wipes. Always a good choice!
- Formula and Breast Milk. The TSA has a section in their Tips and a video to watch regarding their current rules regarding transporting liquids and other infant care products.
- What did our parents do without tablets and smartphones to keep the kiddos entertained? Make sure everything has a full charge before you leave. Coloring books and games can be good too, but try to avoid items with a lot of pieces. You have enough to keep track of.
Once you are aboard and settled in make it a point to get to know your neighbors, but also remember you are a paying customer too, so don’t worry too much about other people. Your main concern is the comfort of you and your children, not strangers.
The Hold. According to a blog post that has gone viral, Dr. Robert Hamilton, a pediatrician, claims if you hold a screaming infant a certain way (The Hold) the infant will stop screaming, almost immediately. It is effective on infants under the age of three months. Before using the hold, make sure your infant isn’t screaming for medical reasons. It’s worth a try.
Be nice to the staff. Flight attendants can be your best ally with snacks, distractions, and dealing with grumpy passengers. And remember, your fussy kid is NOT the worse passenger they have ever dealt with.
Ear Pressure. Teach your kids, if they are old enough, how to “pop” their ears by holding their nose and trying to blowing out of it. Gum, hard candy, pacifiers, bottles and breast feeding really help with ear pressure, especially at takeoff and landing when the cabin pressure changes the most.
Like all things in life, “this too shall pass.” Even long flights end at some point. Just hang in, keep smiling and kiss and hug your kids!