A parent’s guide to flying with children

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Traveling with kids can spell major stress for parents. Not only do you have to see that your children are comfortable, fed and at ease during the flight, but if they start fussing or crying you risk the wrath (or at least dirty looks) of fellow passengers. It can be hard to schedule flight timings to complement sleep and eating schedules. While there’s no way to totally sidestep a tumultuous flight with your little one, there are a few measures you can take to try your best to keep the journey free from toddler turbulence.

To start with, try and book the earliest flight you can in the day. You may think a drowsy baby is better to take on a plane but early flights are more likely to leave on time. You don’t want to spend more time in transit than you have to by risking a flight delay.

While you are at the airport, try to keep your kids awake and active to help tire them out. Take your children for a walkabout; allow your baby to crawl so that he or she expends some energy and is not so restless when it’s time to stay put on the aircraft.

Don’t forget to get all the kids to use the loo before boarding. There are a few things more painful than cramming yourself into an airplane toilet with your child so you’ll want to try to put that off as much as possible. If you have an infant, it’s best to change their diaper just before boarding too. Do this even if the diaper seems clean.

If they’re old enough to understand, sell the plane journey to your kids as part of the holiday fun. Tell them it’s like a picnic where they get to have their own seats, eat snacks and play with toys or coloring books for a long time. Carry their favorite toy, books and other things that will keep them entertained. If you have more than one child, carry separate playthings for each — you don’t want them fighting on the flight.

You could also carry an electronic entertainment device such as your laptop or tablet computer loaded with your child’s favorite games and shows to keep her occupied. Don’t forget to carry headphones too.

Taking your car infant carrier to put your baby in may also be a good idea. She may feel more secure and comfortable in that familiar mode of transport during the flight. It can be placed on the floor if you get a bulkhead seat (most airlines save those for parents with infants and you should ask for it). However, do check with your airline whether this is possible and if you will need to spend on a separate seat because of it.

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