The Secret to Flying with Kids
Picture this: You’re on a crowded early-morning flight when suddenly you hear a toddler scream at the top of their lungs from the back of the plane. You roll your eyes and brace for what could be a long flight — and their parents are likely doing the same.
If you're flying with kids, this scenario doesn’t have to be your reality.
ParentEducate.com is dedicated to making parenthood easier for families like yours. We’re sharing tips for flying with kids on a plane.
Be intentional about what flights you book.
You want to ensure you have plenty of time to get you, your little one, and your belongings between gates. If you can’t book directly to your destination, at least try to limit the number of connections you have and the length of the layovers. The fewer connections you make, the easier your flying experience will be as a parent. Booking direct also lowers your chances of dealing with delays or lost luggage — not to mention you only have to help your child through one round of takeoffs and landings per travel day.
In addition to focusing on the number of flights you book, we recommend being intentional about what time of day you fly. Morning flights are statistically less likely to be canceled or delayed, which can help avoid boredom and restlessness in a terminal. If you and your kids aren’t morning people, we recommend booking mid-day; this will ensure you get to your destination before your kids’ bedtime and avoid sleep-deprived fits.
Reserve your seats in advance.
Even though it might mean spending more on your tickets, we recommend splurging to ensure you can select your seats before boarding. As a parent, you might want to ask this question to yourself: Is it safe to fly with kids right now? Answering this question will allow you to make sure your family is together on the plane and let you be strategic about where your seats are located. Also, if you have a toddler known for frequent potty breaks or a kid still in diapers, choosing a seat near the bathrooms can alleviate stress for you both.
Pack and snacks activities.
One of the best tips for flying with kids is to get them entertained. An entertained kid is a happy kid. Pack things to keep your little one busy during the flight. They will feel comforted seeing their favorite toys. It’ll also give them something to focus on while traveling. We recommend surprising your kid with something new once you’ve boarded the flight. Finally, airplane food tends not to be kid-friendly, so pack some of your kid’s favorite snacks.
Bring an essentials bag.
Speaking of packing, make it easier on you and your partner by putting any in-flight essentials ( such as kid activities, baby wipes, snacks, etc. ) in a small bag that you easily place under the seat in front of you: This will help ensure you always have easy access to the items you need and won’t have to worry about the bins above your seat being filled with other travelers’ items.
Be smart about what you dress them in.
When flying with kids, chances are you’ll experience what feels like a thousand different climates. The security line will likely be crowded and warm if it's a busy travel day. Then, you might get hot on the walk to the gate, only to cool off once you’ve been sitting for a bit and eventually freeze once you’ve taken off. With that in mind, it’s best to dress your little one in layers that they can easily take off to compensate for the temperature difference. When it comes to shoes, if your kid is walking on their own, we recommend non-lacing shoes so they can quickly get through security.
Take advantage of early boarding.
Don’t worry about taking advantage of your airline’s early boarding call. It’s an excellent opportunity to bring your little one on the plane before it gets packed and allows you both to take your time getting settled into your seats. If it’s your first time flying with kids, it will also help ease their anxiety as they’ll meet the flight attendants, explore their space and become comfortable with their surroundings.
Help them during takeoff.
Takeoff and landing can be two of the scariest moments for kids, not to mention the physical symptoms of the changing altitude. If you can, try to distract your child during both of these significant moments with one of their activities or a movie/television show. Also, if your child is old enough to chew gum, have some on the ready to help alleviate any pressure that may be building up in their ears. If your kid can’t have gum yet, encourage them to yawn to deal with the stress. Finally, be patient with them. Remember what it was like the first time you flew, and talk them through the process. So before the flight, always plan and ask yourself: “Is it safe to fly with kids right now?” do research ahead of time to keep your kids safe during take-off and landing.
Befriend the flight attendants.
One of my favorite tips for flying with kids is to befriend the flight attendants! The flight attendants can help make flying with kids a memorable and less stressful experience for your little one, so try to befriend them as soon as you board. They also usually have access to onboard supplies that you can use if needed, including pureed baby food, wipes, nappies, and more.
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