Summer vacation time is here! Time to scoop up your kids and take them to your best family vacation places to travel. To get to your destination you might drive your car or soar on an airplane. Flying with your children might be the most adventurous thing you attempt to do as a parent. You may have to protect your fellow passengers from the child who hates airplanes and will do everything in their power to ambush the pilot and land the plane themselves or the child who thinks they own the airplane and the other passengers and doesn’t hesitate to make their reign of the flight known to everyone on board. Here are a five ways to tame the beast inside your child (and maybe yourself) so that everyone can sail smoothly through the sky to the next airport.
- Preparing Their minds: Flying miles above the earth takes guts and your children need to be prepared for the new sights and sounds they will encounter on an airplane ride. Tell your kids what to expect before the flight. Don’t scare them into not going, that would be bad. Just make it sound as exciting as you can while making sure they understand the rules of the plane. Turn the flight into a game by giving them something to be looking for such as the seat-belt light, the chair treys, the view outside the window, the friendly flight attendants, the pilot’s voice over the intercom, how to sleep on the plane etc. Make it something they can look forward to and offer little rewards that they can earn periodically through the flight if they are good.
- Scheduling the Flight: Plan your flight according to your child’s sleep schedule. If you can board the plane right when your child usually takes their nap or goes to bed you can have them sleep on your lap for the good amount of the flight. On the other hand, if your child struggles falling asleep in strange new places then you might have to scratch this idea and come up with another time that works best for you and your family.
- Packing the Food: During your packing phase of getting ready make sure to bring a LOT of snacks. When it comes to keeping your kids calm and pleasant for your fellow passengers, this is no time to be health conscious. Naturally you don’t want to give them sugar highs but individual cracker, chips and cookie bags will bring forth little fussiness and messiness. If you’re attempting a very long flight (8 hours plus) you may want to call up the flight staff beforehand and pre-order your children’s meals.
- Including the Entertainment: Bringing games, books, electronics and toys are ESSENTIAL when flying with children. Bring larger items that won’t get lost under their seats like coloring books with attached coloring tools or Etch N Sketch. Remember to bring your own earphones for your electronics since the ones that the flight staff have are made for adults. Surprise your children throughout the flight with little gifts of new toys and such so that they have a motivation for not screaming and hitting each other.
- Letting Go: When all is said and done, you’ve done your best to keep everyone around you happy, so don’t add more stress to this trip by allowing other people’s opinions to scare you. Everyone has an opinion just like everyone has a bellybutton. Even if your kids ARE behaving really well you may STILL get evil looks from people. Why? Who knows! People think what they think and there’s nothing you can do to change that. So let the scrutiny eyes roll off your back and make this airplane flight about you and your kids, nobody else. You may not ever see these people again anyway, so don’t let them spoil your fun.
At last you’ve had a safe landing and now you and your family can race each other off the plane and into a taxi to take you to your hotel. Yes, you do have to turn around and fly back home in a week. But as long as you remembered to bring another stash of toys, snacks and surprises you should be able to conquer your flight home with relative ease.