Tips for Flying with Children & Toddlers
So two weeks ago we spent 7 days in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. One of the biggest fears I had with this first family vacation was how the children would do flying. With a 2 and 5 year old and the excitement and anxiety from not only a vacation but flying on an airplane, you really can't be sure how their attitudes are going to be. Fortunately, we had a very pleasant flight both there and back and my kids were awesome!
Here are a couple tips for flying with young children:
1) Prepare them for the security walk through. Our toddler did not like having to take his shoes and coat off, plus let go of his beloved buddy, when walking through security. Though at his age we couldn't really explain it to him, but having told the 5 year old ahead of time what to expect, she went through the process with flying colors.
2) Bring snacks. Even if it's just a short flight, still bring snacks. Teddy grahams, fruit snacks, anything small.
3) Portable DVD Player and Kids Headphones. This was a life saver! Once you get the OK from the pilot, pull out that DVD and headphones and for some reason, while on the airplane, my 2 kids zoned into that same movie they've watched 100 times more than they do at home. It easily took off 1 - 2 hours of the flights there and back.
4) Coloring books. My 5 year old thought it was the coolest thing coloring on that little tray in front of her.
5) Small toys / figurines. Now just as my daughter thought it was cool to color on the folding tray, my toddler loved playing with his Toy Story figurines on it.
6) Remember sippy cups, but empty! Bring a sippy cup along and make sure its spill proof. There's no room on a plane, bring a spill proof sippy cup. After you get through security, break down and pay the $4 for a juice for on the plane. Not only will your kids almost always want a drink, but it also helps them with their ears popping.
7) Remember you can take your stroller right up to the airplane boarding area. Wish I would have known that. Not being an experienced traveler, I wasn't aware of that little bit of advice. So you can push your kids through the airport instead of carrying them, get on the plane and then have the stroller right there when you land.
8) Make an adventure out of it. If you have a window seat have fun with it. What can you see. Bring flyers / books about your destination. Keep them excited about where they are going to keep their minds on the destination instead of the flight there.
9) Bring a deck of cards or other card games (Old Maid, Go Fish, etc). Your older kids will like playing and the younger ones just play with their own cards. Works wonders for all ages and gives mom / dad a chance to semi-relax.
10) RELAX! The more up tight or anxious you as a parent are on the plane, the more your children will be as well. If other people give you the dirty looks or stares, who cares! Some day they will probably have kids as well and if not, will you ever see that person again, probably not!
As I said, my toddler and 5 year old did great on their first airplane trip. They were good and didn't drive anyone around us crazy. I hope your first flight with children goes the same.