By Amanda Alpert Knight
Flying with kids. Many of us get anxious just thinking about it. As parents we start asking the what-ifs, which change depending on the age of our children:
- What if I run out of formula?
- What if my baby cries and the other passengers hate me?
- What if my baby has explosive diarrhea on the flight?
- What if my toddler won’t stop kicking the seat in front of him?
- What if my toddler screams for the entire flight?
The list goes on and on.
I’ve flown many times with my sons, now ages 5 and 7, throughout their lives. From short flights to long ones to overseas, I’ve had good experiences and some that I’d rather forget, but overall I would say that flying has been manageable with them at all ages. Having just returned from a flight with them last night, I reflected on these experiences and stories I have heard from other parents to put together five tips that will make flying with kids easier.
- Don’t try the Benadryl trick. I’ve never done it and from every story I have heard, it seems to backfire. While some people think Benadryl will calm children down, the odds of it backfiring and making them more hyper is far too great.
- Pack healthy snacks for the plane. Too much candy and sugar will also make the kids more hyper. Instead, try pretzels, raisins, nuts (if they aren’t allergic), and dried fruits.
- Play a game with toys. One of my favorite tricks on the plane is the 15 Minute Game: every 15 minutes that the child behaves, I pull out a new toy. Before the trip, I go to a dollar store and stock up on inexpensive toys. Sometimes I will even wrap them for added fun. Then every 15 minutes I give them something new. It can keep them occupied for nearly the entire flight.
- Remember the electronic devices. Of course, Ipads, video games, and other electronic devices are another way to pass the time and keep the kids out of trouble.
- Bring extra clothes. No matter the age of the child, always pack an extra set of clothes. You never know when you might need it. I learned that the hard way.
Safe travels and enjoy! And don’t worry too much about those around you—we were all kids at some point, so they will hopefully understand. Do you have any tips to share for flying with kids? Tell me in the comments below.