Flying with little ones this spring break? If so, it’s only natural to worry about what could go wrong. When small children are involved, any hiccup in the day could turn disastrous quickly. However, flying as a family shouldn’t be something to dread or avoid altogether. Here are a few quick tips to relieve some of the stress flying with children can bring when traveling.
Tip #1: Accept That You Can’t Control Everything
Traveling with kids is hard, without a doubt. Nobody wants to be the family receiving harsh glances or whispers from other passengers on the plane. But when it comes to traveling with kids, sometimes you simply need to accept what your children have done and focus on fixing whatever you can.
If your baby starts crying at 2 a.m. and wakes up the people near you, know that you couldn’t have prevented that from happening. And if you sense everyone looking at you, try not to let it bother you. A large part of the stress we feel when traveling with kids comes from thinking about what other people think of you.
Tip #2: Choose Longer Layovers
In most cases, we tend to avoid long layovers whenever possible. If you’re traveling with kids, however, you may find them to be a surprisingly useful relief. Deboarding one flight and hopping straight on to the next can, understandably, be exhausting for kids. And as most parents know, exhausted kids can quickly turn into cranky kids. Instead, longer layovers provide a break for your little ones to run around, stretch their legs, eat and rest up. By releasing their energy at the airport, your kids will may be more relaxed and calm during the flight.
Tip #3: Pack Some Treats
Got a crying baby? A complaining kid? A toddler who can’t stop running from you? The solution is candy, toys or anything else that your kids may enjoy. Packing some treats for the journey ahead of time gives you the power to quickly turn things around before a situation gets out of control. If you plan on doing this, remember the secret is to not give out all the treats at once. Keep some handy for later in case you sense trouble again.
Tip #4: Divide And Conquer
When flying with kids, there’s plenty to be packed and taken care of ahead of time. You’d never want to be midflight and realizing you forgot to pack baby diapers. As your family is getting ready to travel, it’s a great idea to divide up the tasks evenly amongst yourselves. For example, you can be in charge of passports and snacks for the family, your older kids can be responsible for packing their own things and your spouse, partner or co-parent can be responsible for packing the necessary items for the baby. Taking the burden off of one person can help the whole family feel involved and well-prepared for the travel ahead.
Tip #5: Give Yourself Plenty Of Time
We all know that we should arrive at least 60 minutes before our departure time. But if you’re traveling with kids, give yourself another hour or so. You’ll want to expect the unexpected - a child forgetting to pack their favorite blanket, a passport left at home, etc. You don’t want to be running to your terminal with a baby in hand and your other little ones trailing behind as you try to catch the flight.
Spring break is a time to catch some sun and unwind. Flying with kids may seem a little stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation and careful planning, you can ensure that your travels run smoothly and that your vacation is full of family fun.
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