Do you stress when faced with a long flight ahead with your kids?
You might recall hearing about the mother and toddler who got kicked off a plane back in early July. This became a national story and a hot topic at preschool PTA meetings around the country. According to the mother, the flight attendant advised the mother to give the child baby Benadryl after he wouldn’t stop repeating “Bye, bye plane,” understandably upsetting fellow passengers. The mother took offense to the suggested ‘drugging’ of her 18-month old and refused. We’re not here to debate who’s at fault… but we’d love to offer you seven tips to calm and entertain your child/children during air travel. The Perrin Post also provides a quality list of tips.
#1：Books and Games
Babies and toddlers love pop-up books and stuffed animals they can interact with and talk to. New toys and books the kids have never seen before should be brought as a special treat. (Just be sure that whichever toy you choose is quiet so as not to disturb your neighbors). Older kids enjoy hand-held video games, books, card games, coloring books and even crossword puzzles. Make use of your surroundings as well – the phones, window coverings, and even plastic silverware can all be used to entertain the youngest of kids. See if you can find any games in our previous post: Kango’s Picks: Top 5 blog posts and sites about car games for kids.
#2：Movies and Music
Do you have a portable DVD player at home? Definitely bring it with you on the plane! (They also rent them for a small fee at most major airports. about.com has tips about renting DVD players.) Portable music players (iPods) are great as well for kids of all ages. The Berkeley Parents Network suggests picking an airline with TVs on the back of the seats, especially when traveling internationally (i.e. Japan Air or Singapore Air).
#3： Pack Your Kids a “Picnic”
Chances are that, unless you are flying internationally, the food selections on your flight will be limited to peanuts and drinks. Help keep your kids happy and entertained by packing each of them a “picnic” made up of their favorite foods. Check out Babycenter.com for other great recommendations about flying with kids.
#4：Take Evening Flights If You Can
Kids are likely to be more tired on evening flights, and are more likely to sleep. The lights will be low, and the atmosphere is likely to be more calm and peaceful. If you can afford it, book an extra seat for your baby or toddler so they can lie down in the seat and take a nap more comfortably
#5：Take Frequent Trips Up and Down the Aisles
It’s important to get up and stretch your own legs on longer flights to prevent circulation blockages, and it’s just as important for your kids. Frequent walks up and down the aisle are great for short breaks, and smaller kids will love the attention they will get.
#6：Get a Map of Your Destination
Slightly older children will enjoy figuring out where they are on a map, as well as looking at pictures of the places they are going to visit and even the hotel they will be staying at. Let the kids make a list of the things they want to do and see first.
#7： Book Ahead and Get the Bulkhead (First Row) Seat
This great suggestion comes from a forum on Flytalk.com. Have you ever been on a plane and envied the extra space for the people sitting in the very first row? It’s called the bulkhead row, and it’s a great idea for traveling with kids! When the seatbelt sign is off, your children can get out of their seats and quietly play on the floor with puzzles, books and toys. You’ll enjoy the extra legroom as well.
So there you have it, seven awesome tips intended to allow you to do what you’re supposed to do on your vacation – RELAX.