||SAMANTHA KEMP-JACKSON, Chic Savvy Mama
Travel with children can be trying at the best of times — there are so many things to remember when heading out on a jaunt with the kids. Keeping your feet on the ground is one thing — road travel with children has its own set of challenges — but flying with little ones? That’s a whole other story.
As daunting as it may seem, it is possible to avoid meltdowns and keep the kids in check at 30,000 feet. Following are some tried-and-true tips and tricks you can use to help your next flight run smoothly, with little or no turbulence along the way.
Photo Credit: iStock
• Plan ahead. Consider each step of your journey before you get to the airport and have a contingency plan in place for possible setbacks.
• Be flexible. Know that there are bound to be some unexpected challenges on your trip and that it’s okay. You can handle it — just commit to being flexible and going with the flow when challenges come up.
• Give yourself extra time. Things take longer when traveling with children. Factor in some extra time for each leg of your trip. This way, you won’t be stressed if there’s an unexpected snag or meltdown along the way.
Flying with infants and toddlers
• Get the bulkhead if you can — there’s more space for car seats, diaper bags and all of the other extra stuff you’ll be carrying. In most cases, this area of the plane will accommodate a car seat or two, or even a bassinet. Call or book ahead; many airlines will accommodate families by putting them in these seats.
• Consider the time of your flight — if you can, try to coordinate a flight that will work as closely with your child’s napping schedule as you can. Though it’s not a perfect science and time differences can throw off the younger set, traveling at night or during naptime is ideal.
• Airline food, like hospital food, has a reputation of its own. Bring a supply of food and snacks for your little ones.
• Pack extra wipes and diapers in your carry-on to keep yourself and your kids covered for “accidents.”
• Have crayons, colouring books and portable toys to keep the kids busy.
• Don’t forget security items for your kids! Their special blanket, an extra soother or their favourite stuffed animal will go a long way to fray nervous or anxious kids.
• Books can provide a welcome distraction when flying. Pack some board books for your younger kids so they can enjoy reading and looking at pictures when in the air.
• Bring your own earphones that will fit your toddler. The ones that airlines supply are often too big for toddlers’ heads — causing frustration and stress for both the parent and the child.
Photo Credit: iStock
Flying with children ages 3 to 7
• As with infants and toddlers, get the bulkhead if you can — there’s more space to move for kids and adults.
• Consider your child’s nap schedule and book the flight accordingly. Ideally your child can catch a few winks on the plane, giving you some much-needed downtime. Consider having them wear their pajamas and bring a special blanket or sleep toy to round out the experience.
• Talk to your kids about what to expect with security procedures and what they can and can’t bring on the plane before you get to the airport so there are no surprises and subsequent meltdowns.
• Go online and look at airplanes, airports and travel sites with your children so they are familiar with their surroundings when they get to the airport. Making it a game or an adventure while surfing will add to their excitement — and compliance.
• Give them gum! Talk to your child in advance and tell them they will have a special treat — bubble gum — when taking off and landing. It will alleviate some of the pressure in their ears and will also keep them quiet for some time (hopefully).
• Make it fun — give your little ones their own knapsacks filled with pre-chosen items of choice. This can include games, paper, crafts and other portable items that will keep them busy. It might also be a good opportunity to put in a “surprise” toy — something new they have not seen before. The novelty of pulling out a new toy (small and portable, of course) on the plane will keep them busy and quiet for a good period of time.
• Comfortable clothing will help children on a long flight — bring a good supply in case a change is needed.
• A portable DVD player or iPad/tablet is a great investment if you plan on traveling with your kids. As well, loading up your smartphone with kid-friendly games and videos is always a good backup. Remember to charge your tablet and/or phone before you leave so you have enough “juice” to last for the flight.
Samantha Kemp-Jackson is a mother of four, with three under the age of eight, including identical twin toddlers. She blogs about her experiences of being a frazzled mom of many at Multiple Mayhem Mamma.
Date Added: January 7, 2012 | Comments (0)
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