*Please note that many of these tips work still but all were written before the 2020 Pandemic. Please see here for more 2020 related flying tips as well!
ONE: Take a deep breath
If you keep cool, calm & collected – chances are they will sense that vibe & stay pretty cool themselves.
If you are stressed your children will be. This is a great life lesson as well. But when it comes to flying with infants, children or really anyone, they can sense your stress level and will react to it in their own way. If you are calm, cool and collected, chances are they will feel more comfortable and settle right in. And if not? So be it! It is just a few hours of people’s lives where they have to put up with your screamer. That’s why headphones were invented.
TWO: Know your rights during flights!
Be sure and find your airline’s “infant & child’ policies prior to flight.
Normally there is a place in the policy section of an airline’s website with infant & children dos and don’ts. First off don’t forget their birth certificate. This will save you worlds of trouble! (Story: we got on one plane and they didn’t ask for it. On the way back home they asked for it — which is when we realized we had even forgotten to bring it in the first place — they almost didn’t let us come home!)
SOME OF YOUR ‘RIGHTS’ AS A PARENT/GUARDIAN OF CHILDREN:
Kids may leave shoes on while going through securityYou can bring on any snacks and liquids as long as it is for the child. TSA will probably want to check the liquids so it is best to remove these items from your bag and place them in the bin.Most airlines offer early family boarding. So be on time!Car seats/strollers can be checked in at the gate and a diaper bag can be carried on, none of which count towards your allowed luggageFlight attendants are there to help you not judge you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it!Walk the aisle! When the seatbelt sign goes off be sure and take a walk with your little one and let them stretch their legs/burn energy.
THREE: Think ahead
Make a bag for each half-hour with a small toy, snack or activity.
Bring their favorite book or coloring bookBring a quiet, couple-piece gameBring a new small toy they’ve never seen before. Fun surprises are the best!Bring headphones for their iPad (crazy I know, but not everyone is a fan of Barney songs).
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Planning ahead can save you a headache. When you know what to expect, your children’s expectations will be the same. Explain to them how awesome a plane ride is and make it an adventure! Here’s an idea of how to make a game out of it. Pack different small bags with the above items you’ve packed (snacks, small toys/etc.). They get to open each bag each half hour of your flight! If your kiddos are like mine, this will excite them to see what the next bag has! My last bag is always the iPad or a special blanket for nap time. You will also be thankful for these activities once you reach your campervan!
FOUR: Poppin’ Ears!
When the binki, bottle or boob aren’t workin’… make a crazy face!
If you haven’t heard it before, their ears will be poppin’ away. Being an infant or young child, it is next to impossible to tell them how to pop them. So what to do? The best trick is breastfeeding or a bottle. But if you are like me, I always get the timing wrong! So here are a couple of other tricks. Pacifiers are great if they will take one. If they are a little older, make surprise faces with them or wiggle your head back and forth. Another trick is massage a slow circular motion right outside of the ear to help it pop. Neither of my daughters has ever had an issue due to one (or all) of these tricks working great every time!
FIVE: I need nine arms!
Check in everything you can.
How to get everything off and on the plane is probably my hardest part. I have learned what works for me and my family but yours may differ. Here are some tips from my perspective.
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Check in everything you can! I like to check my car seat, stroller, and bags. It just frees up your hands. Also, you’ll notice a lot of moms bring strollers up to the plane and then check them in. Personally, I’d rather jump off and on the plane so I’ll have a soft wrap or carrier. Something I can stick in my carry-on once in the plane. I have even used a cloth wrap as an extra blanket as well. This is great to carry around your baby in. TSA will even allow you to walk through security like this! Having a wrap is also nice because, once you get your stroller at the end, you can pack all your bags right on top and, BAM, you have your cart for your bags!
I hope this has helped make your travel experience a bit more enjoyable. HAPPY ADVENTURING!