Flying with Kids
(c) 2004 by Cheryl Williams Levey, http://www.cherylsweb.com
of young kids know that because of the energy levels kids are blessed
with, keeping them quiet and in their seats on a flight - even a
short one - can be a challenge. There have even been comedy skits
about this, probably the most famous being Bill Cosby's skit about
"Jeffrey." (It is hilarious and is on his "Bill Cosby:
Himself" video. Highly recommended!)
have two very active young boys and we travel fairly frequently,
so I am very aware of how noisy and rambunctious
little kids can be!
for the most part, we've had pretty good travel experiences with
our kids, so I thought these tips might help out other parents of
probably done it all regarding travel tips and ideas that I've been
able to find. While some tips are great, I found that most of the
required that I take a whole lotta stuff extra to haul around during
the whole trip. This article hopefully helps you balance between
being prepared with toys and snacks and stuff and not being overloaded
with a bunch of stuff that, in the end, is just more stuff to keep
if your child has a lovey (a blanket or stuffed animal or pillow
or whatever), make sure you have it. Treat it like your wallet or
purse or even passport. To a kid, it's just as valuable!. Make sure
it is with you at all times. We left our first son's blanket home
once and spent a great deal of our trip searching San Francisco
for the same blanket, buying several in the process and of course,
none of them would do!
most valuable tip I have: take a stroller! If you think having one
will be a hassle and create one more thing for you to drag through
the airports, try keeping track of an agitated preschooler in an
airport on a layover. Take a stroller, even if the only reason for
having it is to get through the airports. You will have a lot of
other stuff to keep track of, so having your child confined in a
stroller and safe beside you will be a God send to you. Trust me
on this! We rented one from one of those services once (where they
deliver it to your hotel), and without having one in the airport
one of us had to carry our little one
(only one child then, thankfully) the whole time while the other
struggled with carry-on bags and misc stuff. It was awful. Think
of how awful it will be if you are the only adult traveling alone
with a child. Take an umbrella stroller if you want ease of use,
but take the "big" stroller if you want to be able to
your carry on stuff in the under basket between flights. There are
pros either way, and either way, you can stroll your child right
up to the door of the plane and check it literally just before stepping
on the plane. (Be sure to tag it beforehand).
the plane" tips:
"travel" games that are ONLY used during travel - that
way they seem more exciting than they are. We use one of the little
kid suitcases and keep toys in it and only use that particular suitcase
when traveling. It's great both in the van and on the plane, big
enough for several books and small toys, and small enough so that
they can get into it themselves. On the plane, it goes under the
seat in front of the smallest child.
held electronic games work well, if you can find ones that are quiet.
If they aren't, you need to make sure that there is a way to make
them SILENT on the planes. (Some may come with the ability to plug
earphones into them.) The music from (for example) Donkey Kong on
GameBoy Advance for 7 hours would drive not only your fellow passengers
also you! (Electronic games are great for road trips where it doesn't
matter how much noise there is.)
* Other busy toys to consider having on hand are are things like
Etch a Sketch, Magna Doodle, Magnet games... stuff like that. If
your kids are 1-3, try to avoid games with small pieces (even with
magnets, including crayons), or your child will get more entertainment
out of having you spend hours searching around under the crowded
airline seats. If your kids are 3ish and up, they are old enough
to look for stuff themselves. Use your judgment based on your child's
temperament - will he lose it if he drops something or will he just
jump down to get it?
work well for a limited period of time, but if you read to your
child, again, you have to be careful how loud you read :)
things that kids love are post-its, stickers and especially tape.
They will put tape on everything around them (including you) and
put post-its with "important" messages all over the place
(including on you). Just be sure to clean up when the flight is
the flight offers music with headphones, be sure to take advantage
of that. They have fun playing with the headphones and the buttons
on the armrest. In flight movies are also great if (1) the screen
is in the seat in front of them and (2) there is
an appropriate choice for kids.
snacks - preferably ones they picked out, stuff you'd rarely let
them have on normal days, like Cheetos and some candy (not too much,
though). If you're on a really long flight, bring lots of snacks
since a lot of times the airline food isn't so great for kids (some
have kids meals but some don't). Ideas that are easy to transport
and not too easy to crush are Cheerios, breakfast bars, grapes,
carrots, (some of these might not be age appropriate for your child),
pretzels, bananas, granola, ... buying a small burger or sandwich
in the airport to take on board for him to eat as his meal if there
isn't not a kids meal on the flight is also a good idea. With shorter
flights, just make sure they have something they picked out and
lots of juice.
people say to give your kids something that makes them sleepy, like
Benadryl. I personally have never done this, but I have heard this
tip often enough that it might be a good idea for some kids. Maybe
kids who have problems with their ears and the air pressure - it
can be pretty painful. If you decide to do this, try the medicine
at home first, because I have heard that it can actually make some
kids hyper, and you definitely don't want that on a flight!
hour or two, take him to the bathroom and let him play in there
for a few minutes.
possible, give him a window seat. Kids love to look out the windows.
of the success of a flight with little kids is your own attitude.
If you are really dreading it and worrying about it, the kids pick
up on that and make sure it's miserable. But if you act like it's
something exciting to do, they will react in kind. They will be
thrilled to see the planes up close at the airport and to look out
the windows down at the clouds. So if you can, make it seem really
exciting for all of you! :)
the same token, try not to get irritated or jumpy when he does act
up. He will do this at least a few times on a long trip. It's a
lot to ask of a kid to be quiet and relatively still for a long
time. Little kids are supposed to be high energy, so try to take
it in stride when he does act up - it will all end quicker and happier
if you don't get upset too.
Cheryl Williams Levey owns cherylsweb.com, a site
dedicated to showing you how to save time and money
while growing your home business. Do you have what
it takes to build a home business?