Air travel always requires patience and perseverance. The combination of long lines, surly workers and cranky passengers can tire even the most seasoned travelers. Add this baby to everything – and the degree of tension doubles.
Traveling with children is always an unpredictable experience. It happens that the whole flight the children cry or do not want to sit still – by the time the plane finally lands, not only the child, but also the mother is in tears.
The tension during the flight does not benefit either the parent or the child. It often happens that children perceive the emotional signals of adults – so if you are stressed or angry, children pick up these emotions. If you remain calm and act rationally, the children will probably try to follow your example.
Many parents learn such details only over time. Unfortunately, there is no clear guide on how to make your children’s first flights as comfortable as possible, but with each trip you have a useful experience that you can take into account next time.
So, are you getting ready to travel with your child? Travel experts and professional parents have put together a few tips for you to make your next family flight as comfortable as possible!
Be sure to book nearby places in advance. If there are no such seats left, call the airline to see if they can help you in this situation. If you are traveling with a small child, consider paying for a separate seat – although children under two years old can fly for free, you may find it uncomfortable to hold the child on your lap for the entire flight. Comfort costs money, but then you will thank yourself for foresight.
Do pre-flight practice with your kids: look at the planes, imagine that you are already flying. Imagine standing in line for boarding, entering the cabin and fastening your seat belts. You can also study with your child books or programs that feature scenes of traveling by plane. Preparing your child for flight will help them feel more at ease with this new experience.
If you are not sure what opportunities the airline offers or what things you can take with you on the plane, look for the answer in advance on the company’s website or on social networks.
At the airport
While you’re waiting for your flight, let the kids frolic and use their extra energy. In an airplane with narrow aisles, cramped seats and seat belts, they will not be able to have fun. Look around the terminal for playgrounds or come up with your own game for the child.
Often, airlines offer passengers with children to board the aircraft earlier than the rest, but accepting this offer or not is your choice. If you are traveling alone with a toddler, it makes sense to board the flight early so you can pack and get comfortable. But if there are two adults, consider letting your companion settle down in the cabin with the bags while you let the child have some more frolic in the open.
If you have transfers ahead of you, try to schedule the time between flights as comfortably as possible. Many hours spent at the airport will tire anyone. If your layover is longer than eight hours, you should consider booking an airport room.
During the flight
Gain allies in the face of flight attendants! When boarding a plane, smile at them and mention that this is your baby’s first flight. Flight attendants will be able to help you and stay with your child if you need to go to the bathroom.
Take with you to the salon entertainment for the baby: pens, markers, coloring books, stickers. An interesting idea: to glue chains from pre-cut paper into strips, and at the end of the flight, give the result of the work to the flight attendants. You can also put a surprise toy in your child’s bag – a new discovery will captivate him and distract him from a stressful situation. Be sure to bring enough snacks, diapers, tissues and clothes on board.
Even if you don’t like watching TV, let the kids watch cartoons or a kids’ show on the plane – it will brighten up their time and give you a much-needed break. Make sure you have the right headphones and enough power.
Do you want your kids to sleep on the flight? Make them feel at home before bed. Before the flight, change your child into pajamas, take out his favorite toy, prepare a blanket and a book. The more comfortable and familiar the environment will seem to the child, the better.
The last thing you want to bring back from your trip is a sick baby, so take care of the cleanliness and sterility in flight. Wipe disinfectant wipes on hands and surfaces near your child’s seat. It is better not to give the dishes offered on the plane to children. Also be prepared for turbulence – bring a cup with a straw and a lid.
If you’re worried that your baby will have a hard time with the change in pressure during takeoff, don’t rush to offer him to drink from a bottle to ease the discomfort. Sometimes the plane takes a long time to prepare for takeoff, and the child can still drink before the flight begins. Wait for the signal that the plane is taking off – then you can give the child a bottle or pacifier.