Flying with Kids: 8 Easy Ways to Make It Trouble-FreeMonday, May 16, 2016
The prospect of flying with small kids isn't the most attractive. We've all seen those screaming kids on a plane and thought our kids would never act that way. The problem is we never know when our kids are going to break down. Hey, it happens, and it's not always within our control. The most we can do is prepare ahead of time, and these 8 easy ways to prep for flying with kids can help you make your flight trouble-free for your kiddos and for yourself.
Flying with Kids: 8 Easy Ways to Make It Trouble-Free
1. Book a non-stop flight. Layovers can sometimes drastically extend your travel time and multiple boardings and disembarkations can be a pain. Do yourself a favor and book a non-stop flight if you can manage it.
2. Ask Your Doctor About Motion Sickness Options. Motion sickness can be a big concern, especially if your child is flying for the first time. While there are over-the-counter medications to choose from, they may not be right for your child. Speak to your doctor about whether you should get medications or a motion sickness bracelet for your child. A sick child is not going to be a happy one. Being able to treat or prevent motion sickness can make your trip much easier.
3. Pack Gum. With the sudden change in altitude on takeoff, the pressure on little ears can be uncomfortable. Pack gum for older children and give them a piece right before takeoff, while younger kids can suck on a sippy cup, or you can bottle- or breastfeed infants during take-off. The swallowing can help "pop" their ears and keep them from feeling off-balance and cranky.
4. Skip Nap Time. One thing that can help is to skip nap time and let your child sleep on the plane. Yes, he may be a pain during the checking in process, but once he's settled in with his favorite blanket, he'll be fast asleep. This will allow you to travel in peace!
5. Pack Snacks. While snacks in liquid and gel form like yogurts and puddings (excluding baby formula or expressed breastmilk) are not allowed, you can pack granola bars, cereal bars, chips, poopcorn, jerky, trail mix, cheese and crackers, cookies, bananas, apples, dried fruits, candy, or nuts in your carry-on bag. While longer flights may offer meals or snacks, shorter flights generally don't. Keep the hunger crankiness at bay and your flight will be much sweeter.
6. Potty Before Getting on the Plane. Even if you're on a short flight, make sure your child uses the bathroom before boarding the plane. Airplane bathrooms are so tiny and trying to help your child use the facilities while in the air can be tricky. You can also try limiting drinks a couple hours before the flight.
7. Make Them Comfortable. You want your child to be as comfortable as possible. This might mean bringing his favorite stuffed animal or a small pillow to make him comfortable. Avoid airplane blankets at all costs. These are not washed as often as you would hope and can be covered in nasty germs.
8. Bring Along Something to Keep Them Busy. Last, but not least, make sure to bring something that will keep your child busy throughout the trip. It might be a book, coloring book, or a tablet with games on it. If you're in for a long flight, make sure you cram as many activities as you can in your carry-on. My post 10 Cheap Ways to Keep Kids Entertained on the Road can certainly help here too. One of our favorites is a simple pack of playing cards. It takes up little space in your carryon, but can be played with in so many ways. Take the time to learn some fun new games before you go.
You may not be able to keep a breakdown from happening, but these 8 tips can go a long way to preventing one. Take the extra planning time to make sure your child is entertained and comfortable and your flight will be trouble-free.