Airplane travel with kids is not anyone’s favorite thing, but it does not need to be scary either. There are many ways to survive flights with kids. Whether you’re planning for a quick, one-hour flight or a long, nine-hour flight, these tips and tricks will help make it the best experience possible.

airplane 101 with kids

Tips and Tricks for Flying with Kids

  1. Plan the flight time around the child that needs the nap the most. Yes, forfeit one child’s potential happiness for another’s. If your toddler is going to be the more difficult child to fly with, then plan it for a nap around take off.
  2. Do not over pack the entertainment. Give the window view its time. When that joy wears off, then bring out one item or game, and so on. Do not give your children all of the options in the first 30 minutes of the flight.
  3. Pack snacks and water, even though they give out snacks and water. When all else fails, bribe them with snacks.
  4. Do not freak out about ear popping. If you are nursing a baby, then nurse during takeoff and landing. If you are not, then pack something chewy (gummies, fruit leathers, etc.) for them to chew on during takeoff and landing. If they are asleep during landing do not panic! It will probably be OK. Lollipops tend to work very well for younger ones who are not quite old enough to chew well and who are not nursing. We like the Yum Organics lollipops.
  5. Do not pack the pillows and blankets. Most airlines will supply those.
  6. Keep entertainment simple. We love Boogie Board tablets and magnetic faces — it’s fun to try to make the face look like other passengers. One deck of cards can provide a lot of entertainment, too.
  7. Reserve your seats if they give you the option. Also, you can speak to the flight representative at your gate to move seats closer together. It is worth the money to not start your flight off with a seat-situation mess.
  8. Welcome treats. Foreign airlines tend to take the children on board into special consideration. Coloring books and toys are not out of the norm.

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Before You Fly

These days, it is fairly common for a flight to be delayed, canceled, or just to move slower than a panicked mother needs it to. When you’re stuck, paper planes are a mom’s best friend. They’re such a simple concept, yet effective enough to buy you a solid hour or more of happy-child time. Most of the waiting guests will play along too. Do not worry too much if your child’s airplane dive-bombs sleeping people. People are not typically out to ruin your child’s good time.

Keeping it Real

It is emotionally challenging to wait to board an airplane with small children. We are conditioned to feel guilty about making the other passengers feel uncomfortable over our child’s presence. How many blog posts do we need about the cute little “I’m sorry” bags that moms make for the passengers around them? Unless your child is notoriously obnoxious, these bags should not even a consideration. Your child has just as much of a right to fly as the man who will take his shoes off next to you. Your child has just as much of a right to fly as the woman choking everyone with her perfume.

Do not feed the mainstream culture’s ridiculous notion that kids shouldn’t be on planes. People quickly forget what it is like to be sleep deprived and a parent doing your best to keep people alive and happy. Do not let them get to you. Their happiness is not your problem. Simply do your best to keep everyone from crying at the exact same time and that is enough. You are enough. You can do fly alone with your kids. Get out there.

Need a bribe-worthy destination for your little travelers? How about the original Legoland in Denmark?

airplane 101 with kids


Photo Credits: Lydia Bradbury | Unsplash

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