Does the thought of flying with kids send you into a panic? You’re not alone. No parent in the history of flying has ever managed to get a toddler to sit for the entire flight. Travelling with kids can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a little preparation, you can make flying with kids a breeze. Here are some tips to get you through the endless journey:
Download a flight tracker
The first hurdle to overcome is to actually get on the plane in time. With tantrums, teddy bears and toilet stops, it might take you longer to get to the gate than you anticipate, so use delta airlines flight tracker or a similar flight tracker for the airline you’re flying with to keep an eye on your plane. This should help you to manage your time better, meaning you won’t miss your flight. It’s easy to lose track of time when your toddler is screaming in the metal detector, but tracking your flight will allow you to grab everything and run for it if you can see your gate is about to open.
Make use of early-boarding
Most airlines allow those with young children to board first, which will be a relief when you’ve been sat in the gate for 2 hours trying to keep your kids occupied. Keep an ear out for the announcement letting you know it’s time to board, and make sure everyone has been to the toilet in plenty of time. Once you’re sat, the next opportunity to go to the loo might not be for a while as everyone else behind you piles in.
Bring activities to do
You might be tempted to bring a tablet for your kids to watch films on, and whilst this might be a good idea whilst you’re waiting at the gate, it might not be such a good idea on the plane. Just like in a car, kids are likely to suffer from motion sickness whilst flying, and watching hours of cartoons won’t help. Instead, bring crayons and colouring books, and play games like I spy and hangman. If you really can’t avoid using screens to occupy them, try to limit their screen time to 20 minute intervals.
Bring their favourite snacks
The menu is often limited on a plane and isn’t particularly suitable for picky eaters or those with allergies. It can also be very overpriced, so overall it’s best to avoid the food on offer. However, kids will inevitably get hungry on a long flight, so bring some snacks to keep them satisfied. Remember, however, that motion sickness might be a problem, so try to encourage snacking instead of one large meal. One trick you can use is to bring one favourite snack for each hour of flying. So, if you’re flying for 6 hours, bring 6 snacks. They can have one snack on each hour, which should break up the flight and give them something to look forward to.
Stay hydrated and take regular toilet breaks
The air on a plane can be very dry, so it’s important for your kids to drink plenty of water throughout the flight. This, however, may make toilet breaks a regular occurrence. Whilst this might be an issue if you’re in a window seat, it will at least give you all a chance to stretch your legs every so often. It’s easy for kids to become restless when sat for long periods, but a trip to the toilet every so often can help to break up the time and keep things exciting.
Prepare for ear-ache
You may be able to cope with ear-ache, but kids are more sensitive to pain, so ear-ache may be agony for them. This will result in uncontrollable crying, which you obviously want to avoid. Luckily, ear-ache is simple to treat – all you need is some sweets and lots of water. Ear-ache is caused by changes in air pressure between the cabin and your inner ear as the plane takes off and lands, but sucking on a sweet and swallowing water helps to open the inner ear, releasing the pressure and easing the pain. Yawning can also release pressure, but a screaming toddler is more likely to suck a sweet than yawn for you, so make sure you have a good supply if the going gets tough!
Flying can be a challenge with kids, but it’s not impossible. You might feel like everything is going wrong, but remember, most people have been in your situation, so they’ll understand. By following the tips above, flying will be made more bearable for you, your kids and your fellow passengers, so just stick with it and you’ll be at your destination soon!