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Ten Sanity-Saving Tips for Flying with Children

Taking vacations with kiddos is high on the parenting to-do list for a lot of reasons. But quite often, those family vacations require air travel, and that’s always a gamble with little ones in tow.

Here are a few tips we’ve found that can help reduce the chances of a meltdown at 30,000 feet:

1. Do your homework when it comes to the TSA
Check the TSA website for rules and regulations on children and airport security, as there may be different requirements, including differing rules for kids and adults on removing shoes.

2. Talk to your kids about what to expect.
Kids will need to practice a lot of patience when traveling by air, and it will be easier if you talk about this in advance. Think about ways to make a game of patience—and be ready with rewards if they do well.

3. Think about packing one security item per child.
Whether it’s a security blanket or a stuffed animal, a security item might help your child stay calm in unfamiliar circumstances.

4. On the flight, take out toys one at a time.
This will help lengthen the amount of time your child is interested in each toy.

5. Don’t become defensive with other passengers.
Most people sympathize with parents who are traveling with kids—there’s a good chance many of them have been in a similar circumstance at some point. So if another passenger makes a request, do your best to comply without getting snippy.

6. Pay special attention to takeoff and landings.
The pressure change at takeoff and landing can be especially hard on kids who don’t know how to regulate the pressure, so practice ahead of time, and be sure to provide the kids with hard candy, gum or a bottle to help alleviate any pain.

7. Don’t forget to charge up electronics, and plug in during layovers.
Electronics like iPads can be a lifesaver for kids on planes, just remember to charge up.

8. Always pack a change of clothes for both the kids and for you.
You never know when you may need it.

9. After the plane lands, if you don’t have a connection to rush to, wait to de-board.
You may be eager to get off the plane, but if you rush, you’re more likely to forget something you’ll need later in your trip.

10. If you can, book flights for times when your kids are likely to sleep.
Your fellow passengers will thank you!

Published 7/9/13

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