For families about to embark on a long flight, consider these helpful tips to support your children.
Heading out on a last minute flight is a great way to make a memory as a family, but the unfortunate reality is that children and airplanes don't always get along. Babies and toddlers may be uncomfortable with the noises and changing conditions while older kids or even teens may become restless and irritable.
Planning ahead while packing and preparing for your trip can go a long way toward making sure everyone has an enjoyable flight. Before your next vacation, consider these helpful tips.
Talk things out
Before you even head to the airport, talk as a family about expectations for behavior and what flying actually looks like. Your children may be apprehensive about the whole ordeal, and a conversation before hand can be effective in satisfying any anxieties or fears.
At the same time, there are plenty of rules associated with flying that adults may take for granted. Talk to your children about common courtesies such as noise level or possibly kicking a neighbor's chair or leg. Your kids may be well-behaved overall, but there are certain behaviors that are taboo on an airplane that they may simply be unaware of.
Snacks and apps
As the Guardian pointed out, having something to eat and something to do ready for your children can go a long way on your next family trip. Even with in-flight entertainment options, it is certainly possible your children can get bored. Bringing a smartphone or tablet full of their favorite apps can be very helpful for passing the time. Likewise, items like a coloring book or deck of cards can likely be purchased at the gate and give your kids an engaging activity.
Snacks, meanwhile can be helpful for keeping your children from getting too fidgety or uncomfortable. Even if there are meals offered during the course of your flight, preparing a few healthy snacks can help if your kids get antsy or moody. As rough guides pointed out, sugary snacks and candies can actually exacerbate feelings of restlessness and agitation.
Have any medication on-hand
Flying can be very uncomfortable for some children, and having a few essential medications on hand can be critical. Motion sickness remedies like ginger pills or over-the-counter medications can be especially helpful if your young one has issues on road trips or other travel.
Another important consideration for any families traveling is any allergies. Be cognizant of what your children are being offered by flight attendants, keep an eye on neighbors and be sure to have all necessary medications close at hand.
Make it fun
Giving children a deck of cards or a fun app to pass the time is helpful for any parents who want to catch a little sleep on the flight, but there are plenty of more interactive ways to have some fun. Play some of your favorite road trip games or invent an entirely new activity.
Work with your children to make your flight as enjoyable as possible
If your children have never been on an airplane, it is likely that they will be very curious about how everything works. When appropriate, invite them to stretch their legs and explore a little bit. See if it is possible to meet the captain, or if the airline hands out any freebies for excited children.
Prepare for the worst
Above all else, it's best to consider what may specifically be a problem for your children and act accordingly. If your baby is fussy, be sure to have a bottle handy at take-off, for example. If you know your children are more mild-mannered, consider giving them more flexibility and control. Talk with your partner to develop a strategy for making the flight as manageable and enjoyable as possible for you, your children and anyone else on your flight.