Fly the Kid-Friendly Skies

Kids TravelAny parent who has ever been on an airplane is familiar with the dirty looks reserved for those traveling with small children.

Flying with your little ones does not need to deteriorate into a seat-kicking, crying scene straight out of a sitcom. When you are prepared to comfort and entertain your kids, your fellow travelers will thank you and your kids will enjoy a stress-free flight.

  • Practice “flying” with your kids from the comfort and safety of your home. Set up kitchen chairs to simulate an airplane and demonstrate how your kids must sit during the flight. Discuss plane rules before you leave for the airport.
  • Explain security and boarding procedures, as well as noises they can expect during the journey. When it comes time to take off their shoes for screening or sit down for takeoff, your kids will know what to expect, which will keep them calm.
  • Select seats that are close to the restroom. Enough said.
  • For each child, pack a small carry-on with small toys that do not make noise. Coloring books, hand-held games with headphone attachments and action figures will entertain without creating a mess.
  • Pack travel essentials in your carry-on bag. Along with your flight documents and personal items, include a valid birth certificate for each child, just in case. Also pack a change of clothes for each family member, since you never know when a spare shirt might be necessary.
  • Include a non-spill cup and a variety of snacks for each child. Prepackaged sandwiches, granola bars, cut-up fruit and peanut butter crackers will usually go over better than airline pretzels.
  • Bring gum to help your kids pop their ears during takeoff and landing.
  • Ask to board last, rather than before general boarding begins. This allows your child to stretch and walk around for the maximum amount of time, rather than being confined in his seat during a lengthy boarding process.

Any other air travel tips you’d like to share?