Happy National Aviation Day!! While we aren’t celebrating the holiday in the air this year, we have spent a fair amount of time up there recently. And traveling is no longer a low-stress event—delays, canceled flights, lost luggage …
I have an entirely new appreciation for my parents getting me out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to board a plane and fly across the country. Now that I know what it entails, I have a few pointers I’ve picked up along the way …
In that moment when someone behind me says, as I exit the plane, “Your girls were SO good!” I know I’m onto something. We started them young. Stella’s first flight was when she was only four months old, and we flew to North Carolina from Idaho. Mia was just two months old when we flew to Boston from Idaho.
So here’s my list. Somehow, the smallest person has the longest list and the most luggage:)
1. Decide to remain positive. It’s important. It also matters leading up to your trip. As with anything, when you stress out, your kids stress out too.
2. Pack well in advance. My kids love to help with this, and it’s pretty cute. Kids love to count out seven days of underwear and socks … oh, and don’t forget two pairs of jammies!
3. Check most of your luggage. I know it costs more, but it’s really helpful to have your hands free when traveling with kids.
4. Pack a change of clothes in a carry-on (and diapers, if you need them). There have been many times I’ve been glad I brought a spare in my carry-on … for me and my kiddos.
5. Buy them small carry-ons. It’s important for them to get the hang of carrying their own weight, but they won’t if their bags are too heavy. Start out with tiny bags.
6. Plan for their little ears. We use EarPlanes. They eliminate ear pain during take-off and landing. These are also great times to have a snack or gum if they are old enough, or to nurse/have a bottle if they’re young enough. It keeps their ears from building up pressure.
7. Pack lots to do and distract during the flight. We always bring coloring books and stickers. We pack a few of their special toys and encourage them to choose a stuffed animal, as it doubles as a pillow. Sometimes we include a new toy to occupy them.
8. Packs lots to eat. This is a great time filler, and it helps with crankiness. But avoid the sugar. 🙂
9. Show them how it all works. Tell them about where their luggage goes, what the flight attendant’s job is, where the pilot sits, etc. It’s interesting! Let them own it. My oldest now insists on getting everything into the carry-on security bin herself. She loves this part! She acts as if she’s traveling alone. It has put many a smile on those somber security faces.
10. Keep them in their seats. We started this as soon as they could crawl, and it’s much nicer for us, as we aren’t chasing them back and forth the whole flight. Most flights nowadays ask that you keep your seat belts on and stay seated for most of the flight anyway. Our kids think it’s the same rule that applies to being in a car—belted at all times, except to use the restroom.
11. Enjoy their company! It’s one of the only times you get to sit with your child for hours and just be. Play games, tickle them, tell stories, sing songs. They’ll LOVE flying. My girls sure do.