Do you have a fear of flying? A fear of flying with your child, that is. Many parents avoid taking trips by plane with their children in worry of having to keep them quiet, occupied and on their best behavior, while dozens of other travelers look on. It’s a scary scenario. One single outburst and the entire plane will be looking in your direction. Eventually, there comes a time when you have to face your fears and take a trip with your kiddos. Here are some tips to make it easier:
Playtime & Nap Time
Shifting your baby’s nap schedule back or up just one hour on the day of your trip can earn you some silence while on the plane. Start the shift about a week or so before your flight, moving the nap forward or back in 10 to 15-minute increments.
You can use a swaddle to keep baby comfy and quiet, too. Swaddling lessens the intensity of the Moro reflex, a normal reflex of newborn infants that can sometimes startle them awake. Swaddling is simple, but if you’re not sure how to do it correctly, use a swaddle from SwaddleDesigns. Their blankets come standard with swaddling directions sewn right to the edge of the blanket, which makes swaddling baby easy.
Be sure to make plenty of time for playtime for small children before the big trip, too. Kids are balls of energy, and when that energy builds before you board your flight, it’s often released in the form of fits, tantrums and a whole lot of noisy behavior. Before you head to the airport, schedule some time to hit the playground or have some fun in your own backyard. You can play catch, run around, ride bikes — just be sure your little one has expelled as much energy as possible. If you’re tight on time, have a relative, friend or the nanny come over and play with your child; by doing so, you’ll have time to pack and double-check your packing list.
Foods & Drinks
Small kids are often attracted to the brightly colored packaging of junk foods, candy and soda. And there will be a lot of temptation at the airport terminal. From fast food chains to convenience shops, your little one will be asking “Mom, please?” over and over. But don’t give in to the sugary snacks. According to KidsHealth, highly caffeinated drinks and snacks can cause headaches, upset tummies, jitters and difficulty concentrating, and they can also make it hard for your little one to fall asleep once he’s on the plane.
Pack plenty of healthy snacks such as freshly sliced veggies and wheat crackers, and ask for milk or water to drink. These won’t send your child into a sugar high, and protein-rich foods like milk can actually help to make your child sleepy. The passengers on the plane will thank you.
Toys & Games
You might be quick to pull out your smartphone or iPad to pacify your child, but a new study from British Airways and reported by ABC News found that children stay occupied and happier longer with simple toys and a little parent-child interaction. The scientists found that “old-fashioned” activities like drawing, building with Legos or even molding shapes out of Play-Doh can keep kids entertained for an entire plane ride. Bring out a new toy at regular intervals to keep your children occupied. Make new toys even more enticing to your little one by gift wrapping each item individually — unwrapping each one becomes a fun activity in itself.