If the thought of boarding an airplane with your kids causes you to slightly panic, you are not alone. Most people would rather do just about anything else than fly with their children, myself included.
There are a few things you can do, however, to make the experience go a little bit smoother. The six things I do each time we fly include:
1. Giving each child an ID bracelet to wear while we travel.
I do this just in case we are separated by mistake. Each bracelet lists the wearer’s medical information – such as their allergies – as well as my name and cell phone number. It is also a good idea to take a picture of each child before entering the airport. This can simply help locate your child quicker if they happen to become separated from you.
2. Using a backpack styled diaper bag instead of an over-the-shoulder one.
This diaper bag style takes up much less space than a traditional one usually does. That means it can fit under the seat in front of you to have close at hand the entire flight. The smaller design also helps you avoid accidentally smacking other passengers with it as you pass them.
3. Packing a lot of drinks, snacks and special treats in our carry-on bags to help avoid hunger induced tantrums.
Be sure to check with the regulations of your chosen airline, however, for their specific food and liquid restrictions. Doing so will help ensure that you don’t need to throw things away while going through the airport’s security.
4. Packing a variety of things to entertain the kids during the flight.
Aside from drinks and snacks, each carry-on bag includes a few of their favorite books and small toys. If you have older children, let them indulge in their electronic devices for entertainment. Just make sure they know to use their headphones and to switch the devices off during take-off and landing.
5. Putting an extra clean outfit in each of their carry-on bags, as well as my own.
From potty-training mishaps to spilled food or drinks, accidents happen when you least expect them to. It is wise to have extra clothes on hand just in case you need them.
6. Letting them expend as much energy as possible while we wait to board our flight.
Some airports have designated play areas that safely allow kids to do this without bothering other waiting passengers. If your airport doesn’t have a designated play area, however, there are a few other things you can try. Letting them run up and down a sidewalk or testing out the moving pathways are both good alternatives. Just make sure your kids are mindful of the other waiting passengers while they are getting all that energy out.
Traveling is an exhausting and sometimes frustrating time for just about anyone. For those of us with kids in tow, it can be especially difficult sometimes. Hopefully these tips help make the next flight you take with your children just a little bit easier.