Ten Tips for Flying With Children
Flying with children can be tough as we all know our little ones simply aren’t as patient as us when it comes to waiting in line, waiting for take-off, waiting for luggage, waiting for... well, you get the picture.
But who can blame them? From sitting uncomfortably for many hours to being fed gross TV-dinner meals, travelling by plane can be tiresome. So in order to help make your trip down south this winter a little smoother than last year's, here are 10 tips for flying with children.
Bring a Pillow
For a child, lying on jacket or backpack just doesn’t cut it, so bring a comfy pillow for them to sleep on. While it may be annoying to carry around the airport, you’ll be thanking yourself later when they're quietly sleeping.
Take Walking Breaks
Most flight attendants are cool with you and children taking breaks to walk up and down the aisle, so take advantage of this. Get up, go to the bathroom, do some stretches together, and just hang out as long as you can. Plan to this every 30 to 35 minutes, as it helps break up the time sitting.
Introduce your children to your seatmates
Sitting next to strangers can be strange for a child, so make it a goal to introduce them to everyone sitting around you once you take your seat. While this may not be something you would do if you were alone, introducing you and your children to those around makes your child feel a bit more comfortable in their surroundings and will also allow those around you to be a bit more understanding should your children begin to cry or become disruptive by moving around.
Never show your frustration
While flying can be tough, it’s best to never let your children see your frustration or stress. Being in an airplane can already be a big deal for most children (especially if it’s their first time), so it’s best for you to be the calm in the storm.
Bring a tablet loaded with movies
Not all airplanes have easily visible TV screens and some of the movies being shown may not be interesting or understandable by your children, so make sure to bring a tablet or DVD player to give your little ones something to watch. Bringing multiple headphones is always a safe bet too in case you lose one pair along the way.
Bring chewing gum
Having your ears pop on a plane can be an uncomfortable experience for most children, so it’s best to have some gum on hand to expedite the process. Even if this age-old trick only makes their ears pop a second or two earlier, it definitely helps ease their conscience about the whole process.
Be strategic for when you bring out their toys
If you have younger children, make sure not to bring out all their toys at once. Children enjoy novelty, so try to introduce each toy only after they are completely bored with their current toy. Another tip: try wrapping each toy as if it were a present, as this makes getting each toy an even bigger surprise.
Snacks! Snacks! Snacks!
This one should go without saying, but a hungry child is not a happy child when flying. Make sure to bring healthy, non-sugary snacks that will keep your child full, but also busy, as snack time can be a perfect way to break up the flight time.
Always lie about the time
As the flight begins to become boring and tiresome, your children will probably bust out the classic, “How much longer?” and this is where you need to slightly bend the truth. No one wants to hear that it will be another hour or two, so try using non-specific answers, such as, “I think we’ll be descending soon, hang in there!” or “It can’t be much longer now, as we’re more than half way!”
Last minute solution: download apps on your phone!
If you happen to forget to bring toys or a tablet, you can always resort to your smartphone as a way to keep your children occupied. Most app stores have a section for children, with many apps being free. Just make sure to keep your phone in airplane mode to avoid roaming fees!