5 Tips For Flying With Kids That You Might Not Have Heard Before

Travel with kids can be both exciting and exasperating – sometimes all at the same time. Anything that helps make your trip more relaxing and less disruptive for your kids is a plus. I came across this article with some great tips. Happy to share them with you. Bon voyage… and have fun!

5 Tips For Flying With Kids
That You Might Not Have Heard Before

via babycenter / by Kristen Chase, Cool Mom Picks

My heart broke when I read Moosh in Indy’s recent post about traveling with her little one. Those of us who have flown in a plane with kids can relate to how frustrating and difficult it can be, no matter how prepared you might think you are.

As a pilot’s wife, my four kids and I fly quite often. In fact, I flew alone with all four of them a few weeks ago. And while I can happily say I don’t want to do that again any time soon, I do have a few tricks for flying with kids up my sleeve, other than the obvious iPad and Nintendo DS, that might help you make it through your next trip.

 1. Match your kids’ age with time of flight

I’m actually a huge fan of flying with babies because they’re super portable. It’s when they hit the moving around stage through when they can be happily entertained with technology that I find to be the hardest.

If you’re really concerned about your kids’ behavior, I think it’s smart to do your best to match the flight time to when your child is generally less active, especially if your kids are like mine and don’t just fall asleep when the engines start (seriously, who are those kids?). The super early morning flights are key for us because there’s a good chance that my youngest (the most difficult) will fall asleep again. I have no desire to be on a plane, especially for a long period of time, during the mid-morning hours when they’re used to playing. And I have been known to use a little bit of Zarbee’s Nighttime cough medication (with Melatonin) to help.

2. Pack snacks, treats, and drinks. Then pack more.

Nothing seems to occupy my kids better than food, and given the limitations of what you can get on a plane ($4 Pringles, anyone?), I try to pack as much as I can. This is when I’ll splurge for the small individually packed items that I don’t usually buy because it’s easy to distribute amongst the kids. And while some airlines do sell healthy snack boxes, I like to bring my own, like the new GoPicnic lunch boxes that I picked up at my local Super Target.

I also make sure to pack treats, particularly for when we’re boarding, taxiing, and landing, the three times that I find my kids to be the rammiest. I love the Yummy Earth jelly beans and gummies because they’re not as guilt-inducing as the other stuff. Also, bubble gum is a big deal for my kids, so I always have some with me as a last resort. Plus it helps with the ears on the way down.

And I always make sure to pack empty sippy cups (though you can pack full bottles for your baby) so that I can fill their cups on the plane with juice, water, or milk. We pop Mabel’s Labels on them and end up using them for our entire trip. Trust me, I learned my lesson after having way too many spills with the plastic airplane cups. They make better toys than drinking vessels.

3. Great creative with your idea of “toys”

My youngest (almost 2) could care less about actual toys because she’s not yet at the stage where she actually plays with things. So I pack fun things that will keep her busy. She loves
things like masking tape, which I’ll rip and let her stick all over are seating area (and then clean up when she’s done), and baby wipes or my pack antibacterial wipes, that she uses to clean our seat, table, even the window. And I love the idea of packing some tin foil that kids can use to make animals and shapes without having to worry about massive clean-up.

Coloring and drawing are always a favorite activity, but they can involve lots of paper and crayons, so we bring along something like The Boogie Board writing tablet that won’t require you reaching down every few seconds to pick up crayons off the floor.

4. Not all books are created equal

Because I’m handling kids with a wide age range, I can’t just plop them in my lap and read a book. So I like to bring books that require a bit of activity and/or competition (for my older ones). The Where’s Waldo type books (love One Million Giraffes) are always a big hit, and I even give out prizes for who can find the character first.

I’ve even done magazine scavenger hunts with the catalogs in your seat pocket. Put together a list of 10 things they need to find (a dog, a cat, a kid, etc.) and when they hit 10, they get a prize. You can even do this with Richard Scarry books as well.

For littler ones, get books like Goodnight Moon or even The Pioneer Woman’s Charlie the Ranch Dog because they have the same character (mouse and chipmunk, respectively) on each page. Then you can give them the book and let them “read” it.

5. Who cares what other people think?

Remember that there’s a good chance you won’t see these people again. As hard as it is, at least for me, anyway, try not to care if they think your kid is a terrible flier or you’re somehow an awful parent. You’re doing your best to make the experience pleasant for everyone and in my opinion, that’s all that matters.

If you have any secrets that you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment.

 

Update: This article was forwarded to me from a reader recently… More information that may be helpful to the traveling family.
Flying With Children: The Ultimate Guide To Less Stressful (And More Fun-Packed) Flights With Kids, by Alex Miller at UpgradedPoints.com.

 

 

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