17 Tips for Flying with Kids

There are three essential keys to helping your children have a good flight.

1. Preparation and Planning

99% of the time your child will be irritated, cranky or screaming because they are either:

  1. Tired
  2. Bored
  3. Hungry

Pack enough food, enough toys and provide opportunity for them to rest on the plane.

2. Communication

You must talk to your child before, during and after the flight, so they know exactly what to expect.

Describe the experience of flying from checking in, to boarding, to seat space, meals, entertainment, sleeping arrangements, playing, and then disembarking. Depending on your child’s age you can also talk through potential problems and solutions. What do you think you can do if you start getting bored? What about if you are hungry?

Get them really excited about it, let them know it is a big adventure. Practice at home. Watch cartoons or movies if you can.

As you go through each procedure during the flight, talk to your child so they are prepared and comfortable:

We’re just checking in now and the lady is going to take our bags. We have to line up here for boarding, we must be patient as we wait our turn. Oh yippee, look the hostess is coming with food!

Check in with them throughout the flight as to how they are feeling and what they might need.

3. Training from an Early Age

flying with kids

The worst thing you can do is delay flying with kids because you are frightened of it. It will only be worse when it is time to take the plunge as they won’t know what to do. Train them as early as you can.

Our girls are such great flyers as they have been doing it from birth. They know the procedure, what to expect and how to manage themselves.

Just take a look at how Savannah, who was 17 months at the time of recording this, boards a plane. She gets it at an age when some children aren’t even walking yet.

More handy tips for flying with kids

 4. Distract Them from Their Fears

I have a fear of flying that I am learning to overcome. I hold Kalyra’s hand during take off. This helps take her mind off the fear and transfer that to having an important job of easing Mummy’s fears.

5. Book a Bassinet for Babies

This was so helpful flying to the States when Kalyra was only nine months old. She loved having her own bed and would sit up and give the royal wave to the passengers. Pre-book this when you book your plane ticket, as are limited numbers.

6. Get Organized

As soon as you board the plane, get organized and settled in with every thing you need. Have essentials stored in the pockets and under the chair. Now you don’t have to climb over everyone or wait until the seat belt sign is off to get what your unhappy child wants.

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7. Have a Surprise Bag of Treats

Go to the $2 store and buy a bunch of toys, wrap them and every couple of hours allow your child to unwrap one and play with it on the plane. This is such a great way to turn a boring plane flight into a treasure trove of fun.

8. Go for Walks

Every hour take your child for a walk up and down the plane. Not only is it essential for your health and sanity to stretch your legs, but your child will love all the attention they get form the other passengers.

9. Have Quiet Activities to Occupy Your Children

Flying with kids

You can’t go wrong with colouring books and pencils. Pack a couple of their favourite story books for quiet reading.

 10. Ask for Help

If you are struggling ask the air hostesses for help. They are usually wonderful at helping parents with their children and may even be able to give you a break.

11. Take Snacks on Board

Every airline and flight is different now in regards to what food is supplied. Take plenty of food and water with you on the plane, just in case.

12. Have a Movie Marathon

Kalyra loves watching movies on the plane and she does for most of the flight. Flying to LA with her is a breeze. Allow your children to watch a lot of movies. It will get them excited about flying – it sure does for me! If you have an ipad, have a few movies ready for in-flight entertainment.

13. Play Entertainment Games with Them

Kalyra loves it when we sit and play the memory game and Pacman with her on the in-flight entertainment system. It’s quiet bonding time. You can also do this if you have an ipad.

14. Help Them Get Settled to Have a Sleep

tips for flying with kids

Let them lie on your lap, put the pillow down for them, and snuggle them up in the blanket. Do whatever you can to help them sleep; trust me you will appreciate those couple hours of rest time yourself.

Keep to their regular bedtime routines as much as you can: dress them in their pyjamas and have their favourite bear with them for snuggles.

15. Have Them Sit in the Middle

Have you seen the movie Flight Plan? Then you’ll know why I am recommending this one. For safety keep them sitting between you and your partner in the middle seats. This way you know if they are trying to get out into the aisle without you!

16. Help Their Ears on Landing

Babies have not yet developed the ability to equalize their eardrums naturally. If you have ever felt this pressure on your ears before then you’ll know why so many babies scream during landing. Breastfeed/feed your baby or have them suck on a dummy.

For older children let them chow down on chewy food.

17. Comfort Them

A cuddle and a few calming words or hushed lullabies does wonders for comforting our children. Flying is such a new experience they might feel a little anxious. Help them to feel safe and secure. It’s the best way to settle them down.

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