Flying can be stressful for anyone, even those that travel regularly. And when children are involved, it becomes even more of a hassle, and can be very stressful and unpleasant. However, if you are prepared, your journey can be relatively painless, even if you are traveling with young children or even babies. Like most things, preparation is the key to a successful trip with your child. If you can, driving to your destination will almost always be easier than flying, simply because your child will already be accustomed to your vehicle, while an airplane might scare them. If flying is your only option, then read on for some helpful tips concerning how to fly with young children.
Check Airline Policy
Step #1 should be to check the policy of your airline concerning children. Each airline has different policies, so it is important to check the right one. You should be able to find the information online, but if you can’t, you can always call in and ask. Some airlines will allow children under a certain age to sit in a parent’s lap, which can save you money on tickets. Conversely, some airlines require everyone to have their own seat, even if the person is a small child or toddler. Make sure you know what to expect, and ask any questions you may have before arriving at the airport.
Comfort Your Child
Regardless of the age of your child, you should expect some fear and/or discomfort from them while on the plane, especially if it is their first time flying. Many children will cry or yell during takeoff and landing, so you need to be prepared. One thing that can help is bringing along your child’s favorite toy or small item, and allowing them to play with it on the plane. This can keep the child entertained and distracted from what’s going on around them. Also, bringing the child’s blanket from home can help immensely with their comfort level on the plane.
Think About the Other Passengers
While your main priority should be keeping your child safe and happy, you also need to think about the other passengers on the plane. We’ve all been on that flight with the screaming baby, and it’s not fun. While sometimes you cannot control what your child does, it’s important that you come prepared and that you know how to calm your child. If you are traveling with a baby or a small toddler, consider bringing a pacifier for the sake of your fellow passengers, even if you don’t use one regularly.
Carry Gum or Chewy Candy
During takeoff and during the landing process, you should give your child gum or a very chewy candy. This will help to pop their ears, which will reduce the discomfort they may feel. Rapid changes in altitude and pressure can cause many people to have headaches, toothaches, and sinus pressure. Chewing gum helps relieve the pressure and reduce the discomfort. Plus, it gives your child something to do, and it can even be used as a treat for “being good” on the plane.
[Photo by: Matheus Barbian]