Travel season is here. While family vacations offer a fun bonding experience, they can also be stressful for parents, particularly if you're flying with toddlers. But don't fret – flying with kids isn't as frightening as it may sound. And the earlier you get them accustomed to this travel mode, the better off they'll be later in life.
These five tips will help you enjoy a more peaceful flight with the kids.
1. Be Prepared
Preparation is the key to success when flying with children. Yes, fear of flying may set some kids off on a crying fit, but for the most part, children become irritated or fussy because they are tired, bored or hungry.
Be prepared for these scenarios by packing snacks, planning some fun things to do, and making sure that your child can sleep comfortably on the plane.
2. Communicate with Your Child
Packing your children up in the car and throwing them on a plane without telling them what's happening is a recipe for disaster. Talk your little ones about what's going to happen so that they know what to expect.
From arriving at the airport to boarding and flying, explaining everything will help put your little one at ease and ease her fears.
Be positive about flying – talk about it being a big adventure. You can even practice flying if your child is apprehensive about it.
Communication can go a long way in ensuring that your kids are calm and prepared for the flight ahead.
3. Book a Ride to the Airport
Flying can be stressful enough as is. Driving to the airport can make it even more stressful and potentially make the entire experience negative before you even arrive at the airport. Between traffic, the kids fighting (probably because they're excited) and fighting against the clock, making it to the airport can be a pain.
When we booked our vacation to Disney World, I was not even going to bother with the stress. I knew we'd be starting off our vacation on the wrong foot if we took ourselves to the airport – and then paid a pretty penny to keep our car there.
We booked a ride to the airport and then had an Orlando airport shuttle take us to our hotel. It was so much less stressful and made the trip even more fun for the kids.
4. Get Organized and Settled
Once you're on the plane, start getting organized and settled as soon as possible. Make sure that the kids understand what's going to happen next (seat belts, take-off, etc.).
Store your travel essentials in the pockets under the chair. Have all of your activities, snacks and everything else ready to go so that you don't have to climb over everyone to get what you need.
Make yourself comfortable and make the kids comfortable, too.
5. Take Walks
If you're taking a long flight, your child may get restless after a while. Even us adults need to get up and stretch our legs once in a while during a flight.
Make it a point to get up and take a walk with your little one every hour or so. Moving around will ease the boredom and give your child a chance to move around a bit.
Don't forget to pack plenty of quiet things to do, like color, draw, read or games. Kids can also watch movies to keep them occupied during the flight.
Flying with kids isn't as terrifying as you might think. And the earlier you start taking them on a plane, the better off the they will be when traveling when they get older.