Children are little bundles of energy, ready to go go go in any situation. Most parents can agree though, the last place you want your child hyper or misbehaved is while on an airplane.
Everyone dreads sitting next to the person with the baby (you know we've all been there!). You run the risk of he/she crying, having a dirty diaper and you know mom will need to get up to grab the essentials for her baby. Avoid the baby stereotypes and come prepared for the flight.
No one can predict the future, but you know your children the best! Bring a few items that you know will bring a smile to their face. Whether that is a toy, a favorite snack, book or anything you know will keep them happily entertained.
Pack a bag that is easily accessible for the plane and has everything you need inside and ready to go.
When planning your flight try to plan accordingly to your child’s schedule. If you have an early morning flight, make sure your children go to bed early so that you don’t have a cranky child at the airport. If you know your child’s nap schedule, try to plan your flight time around that. The worst time to book your flight, for adults and children, is right around the dinner hour. Everyone seems to be hungry and/or tired, so avoid this time if at all possible.
Also, if you plan on taking SuperShuttle to the airport, be sure to bring your child’s car seat so that they can ride in the fun blue van.
Most of the time kids are fearless, not afraid to try new and exciting things. Prep your kids before flying and getting to the airport. Lay down rules before and tell them what to expect and how to act. Of course kids disobey, but try your hardest to lay down the line sooner rather than later.
Make the trip sound fun, but also under control. Your energy will rub off on them, try to be more relaxed but still in control. If your child acts up, don’t ignore it, address it right away so that they know not to act that way on the airplane.
Unfortunately there are people out there who just might not understand that it is tough for kids on airplanes. This is something that you cannot control. Ignore the stares and the snarls and know that you are trying your best! If you get agitated, your children will see that and feed off that energy. Stay positive and focus on your destination, remembering that there is only a short time in flight.
Take-off and landing can sometimes be a scary part for your children. Look calm and distract them, look out the window and say something relevant like, “Look at all the cars!” or “Wow, look at the trees and mountains!” Kids enjoy seeing that you are interested and not scared, it will make them understand that this is a normal feeling.
For the even smaller travelers, take-off and landing can hurt their ears. So try things like gum or drinking water, or breastfeeding while you take-off and land. This keeps them distracted and takes the focus off of what is actually going on.
Small children do not know airplane etiquette, so it is the parents’ jobs to teach them. Examples would be: no kicking the back of the seat in front of them, talking with our inside voices and asking mom and dad nicely for a bathroom break or a new activity. Interact with your kids on the plane, this will keep their focus on you rather than any other passenger.
Reward your children for good behavior. If you see them consciously making an effort to listen to your instructions, give them a prize, whether that is a sticker or a small piece of candy. They need to know they are doing the right thing.
We know that kids will be kids and we can’t control everything. A lot of passengers can sympathize with you if you are giving effort for your child. Use these tips above and your little ones should be happy campers!