Wednesday, June 23, 2010
No, there isn't a magical machine that will zap your family 900 miles away instantly. While that does sound very appealing, unfortunately you'll have to choose the next best thing: airplane travel. And, yes, that
means screaming kids, rude glares from strangers and a throbbing migraine headache for you. However, you can apply a few travel trips to help minimize the stress and chaos as much as possible. Here are a few tips for traveling by airplane with small children. They're not guaranteed to help, but it could lessen the chances of getting a few gray hairs.
Airplane Travel With Kids Tip #1: Don't Board Early
As you probably already know, most airlines allow a time for children and adults with special needs to board first. While this can be helpful in some situations, it really isn't a great idea with young children. Think about it: on the airplane they will be strapped down to a seat, and will become restless easily. While you're waiting, they can walk around a little and get some energy out. Boarding early might meant that will be on the airplane a full 30 minutes (possibly longer) before take-off. They could be grouchy before the plane even takes off! It will just lengthen the time they spend cooped up on the plane. So, if possible, don't use early boarding with small kids.
Airplane Travel With Kids Tip #2: Bring New Toys, Coloring Books and Travel Activities
Consider this to be part of the cost of a new plane ticket. Buy new (quiet but fun) toys for the kids. If you think you can't afford it, visit a second hand store or stop by garage sales to see if you can find some great deals. They are definitely worth every penny to save you sanity.
For kids ages 3 1/2 and above, I recommend Crayola Color Wonder No Mess Fingerpaints (or Markers), which should hopefully keep them still for 30 minutes or so. You might even get a toy airplane if you think he/she'd like that. Toys will help pass the time, and will keep your children busy, at least temporarily.
Airplane Travel With Kids Tip #3: Break the Rules
Is your 14 month old only allowed a pacifier at night? Break the rules - and let him or her have one. Are you trying to potty train your 22 month old boy? Take a vacation from it, and put him in diapers. The same
goes for junk food for older kids. Eating a bag of cheetos will cause less harm to them, than the stress of them going bonkers will to you. The goal is to make the trip as stress-free as possible. One way to reach that goal is to eliminate stressful factors!
Airplane Travel With Kids Tip #4: Dress Them Comfortably
I grew up in Germany, and had a friend whose mother made her wear footsies (pajamas) on the airplane ride. While that is a little overboard, I do think its important to dress the children comfortable. A cute comfortable sweatsuit is a great idea. Leave the summer dresses, wool sweaters, and other clothes in the suitcase.
Airplane Travel With Kids Tip #5: Read Travel-Themed Books
This tip is great for kids ages 2-8. One great way to prepare your children for what to expect, is read them books about air travel. I recommend My First Airplane Ride by Patricia Hubbell and Lisa's Airplane Trip by Anne Gutman. There are also great board books on airplanes for toddlers. Search online for some great airplane-themed books.
These are just five tips to make your trip a pleasant one. Relax, and remember it will be over soon. You'll be at your desitination in no time! Happy Traveling!