Having two little ones myself, I find that my anxiety for flying increases a few days before the flight. Why? Well, having two little who are super excited to get to their destination and don’t understand why they have to be on a plane for so long gives many parents anxiety, including me! I also feel very uneasy with the looks we get from people who are sitting near us on the plane. Their facial expression shouts “Please keep your kids under control I am not in the mood today.” Not only have I gotten the glances, but one time I had overheard an older lady tell her husband that she hoped those kids would be good on this flight while we were sitting down behind her. She kept glancing our way with disapproval the whole flight. The best part was after we landed and she was getting up she told us our kids were perfect on the flight.
So if I have anxiety about it, then why even bother taking them on planes? Well, the truth is, I am a travel agent and I love to travel. I also want to instill into my children the love for travel that I have, and I want them to see those destinations that will take their breath away. In order for me to instill this love for travel we as a family have to get on planes. Sometimes there are no other reasonable options to get us to our destination. I personally would rather keep them occupied for a 2-hour flight to Orlando than a 15-hour drive.
I want to share with you how I am able to get people to say: “Your children were so well behaved on this flight. You guys are amazing parents” each time we fly. I am not kidding either, there is always at least one person who says this to us on EVERY FLIGHT. I want to share this information because it works. It has decreased my anxiety level when flying with them, and it actually makes the plane rides pleasurable for all.
Photo by: Mary Yohannan
Let’s start out with Preparation:
- If you have kids who can carry or wear a back pack, a week before the flight ask them which bag they would like to take on the plane with them. This will be their bag to put in anything they personally want to take including toys, books, games, etc. This makes them feel that they are also packing, and they are excited to be taking some of their belongings with them. Now throughout the week, the items may change out, but give them a week to decide.
- Make a list of all the stuff you want to bring along for the kids to have in the airport and on the plane. Since you are limited to how many bags you can carry onto the plane, you want to make the most out of what you are putting in those bags. Making a list helps save time and sanity!
- Buy inexpensive items to reward the kids for good behavior throughout the trip. I try to keep the items under $5 per item, especially if you plan to reward for every hour on the plane, or every plane ride. Once you have the items, take them out of their original packaging, and either wrap them in colorful wrapping paper or place them into bags wrapped with tissue paper. I like the ziplock bags because if there are items with small parts, they have a bag to keep everything in.
- Food, food, food! Airport food is expensive, and kids always get hungry when seeing their favorite food places. Get the kids favorite snack items, and pack plenty of them. If you don’t have enough room in your suitcase for extra snacks you want to have when at your destination, then mail the rest in a flat rate box. This will save you BIG money mailing juice, milk, and other snacks in a flat rate box, rather than pay extra charges imposed by the airline for going over the 50 pounds allowed for a checked suitcase.
Watch for my article next month on how to keeps kids occupied in the airport while waiting for your flight but in the meantime… SAFE TRAVELS and remember… LIFE IS BETTER TRAVELING!