Air Travel and Children Can Go Together!
by Bec Bloomer June 3 2012
Air travel with children has been cause for many a comedy skit.
My own kids have been getting on and off planes since the youngest was six months old and I was lucky that they both do it extraordinarily well. I like to think that has something to do with the way my husband and I approach the experience with them.
Our ordered approach takes the following form:
1) Book flights for when your child normally sleeps.
2) Unless your kids are asleep, be the last to get on the plane. Yes they generally try to board families with kids first, but don’t be sucked in. Your seats are allocated, no-one can take them off you and that plane won’t leave without you. Those extra boarding moments can burn up extra energy. Cherish them.
3) Be sure to book and reiterate at every possibility, your need for the seats with the cradle in front. If by some weirdness, you end up being shuffled toward some other seat, DO NOT SIT DOWN. You booked the cradle seat, when you checked in, you reiterated, stay where you are until you get it. If the plane is full of families, some of whom have children smaller than yours, it might be worth doing a deal for extra seat space. If that’s the deal you make, THEN sit down.
4) Pack a sub-nappy bag. There is nothing more annoying than people bobbing up and down from their seats like a meerkats on crack. The sub-bag should have the first feed, spare dummies and a couple of nappies etc. That means you can stuff it into the seat pouch in front of you and not need get up for a little while.
5) Understand what air travel does to a body. Small children have tiny ear canals. They can’t help that take-offs and landings hurt. If you’ve a baby, try to time a feed for take off (I recommend a bottle feed because flying does strange things to a mother’s body as well and breastfeeding isn’t always easy). If your children are toddler shaped, play games where you pull faces and puff your cheeks etc until take off and landing are over. Also, just as you need water, so do children, dehydration makes everyone miserable.
6) Let them watch as much television as they want. My smallest child used to wear her headphones, watch the Wiggles and dance in the foot space between her father and I. My son watched movies and played games until his eyes turned square. The middle of an international flight is no time to take a stance against technology. For the sake of all on board, let them consume.
7) Never EVER wake your child in order to feed them. Ask the flight attendant to keep the food for you, then buzz them when the hungry one awakes.
8) As bad as you feel, they feel the same. Understand that for the duration of the flight, they are the centre of your attention.
9) When the plane lands, don’t jump up and then mill with everyone else. Be the last to get off, so you can take your time organising your bags etc without inconveniencing other passengers.
10)Whatever happens REMAIN CALM. Sometimes kids cry. Other times they scream. Tense parents make for tense children. Do what you can and then take comfort in the fact that you’ve done all you can (if you’re so inclined, comfort can also be found in a white wine).
- That’s it. Our ten top tips for surviving air travel with kids. Hope they help.
Category: Moving Abroad in General