We all know that flying with the family can be stressful at times, especially with young children. Not to worry, Belinda Jennings from Mum Central is here to help, with a collection of handy hints that'll have you covered from the moment you arrive at the airport, until you're in your seats ready for takeoff.
At The Airport
- Getting to the airport early is key to avoid panic, stress and any drama. Let’s not forget the kids pick up on any of your frustration and energy so aim to be at the airport with plenty of time to check in, stretch your legs (and even have a play on the playground most airports have these days).
- If you’ve got little ones under the age of 2, a baby carrier is a godsend at the airport. Not only do you have them close and still keep both hands free, but you’ll find it’s easier to manage them through boarding and they’ll remain a lot calmer being close to mum or dad.
- Airport security can sometimes be quite a confronting and scary experience for young kids, especially walking through the x-ray machine without mum or dad. Wherever possible explain to them in advance what needs to happen to avoid any delays on the spot.
- Wherever possible pop all metal items and heavy jewellery etc into your carry on in so that when you go through security you’re not having to keep track of too many things (and your kids) and won’t risk leaving valuable items behind.
- By now (we hope) your kids have cooperated up until this point. Now is a great time before the flight to let them burn off some steam and release any pent-up energy before they get on the plane.
- Wherever possible try and ensure you all visit the bathroom prior to boarding the plane. This will alleviate any additional toilet visits on the plane, although it can also double as a great ‘expedition’ to curious minds as a bit of a distraction to get through longer flights.
- Avoid sugary treats before the flight as you’ll only regret it later on!
- Let them run around in open spaces, play on the airport’s playground (if available) and really try (in a nice way) to wear them out so they’ll relax and sleep on the plane! (bliss!) If you can’t find a playground, try letting them roam around at an empty gate, don’t try to keep them seated, there’s plenty of time for that when they get on the plane!
- Grab any last minute snacks or drinks (especially if you had to forego liquids to get through customs!) If you are travelling internationally, bring a few empty water bottles in your carry on and fill up at the drinking fountains once you get through customs.
- We will call for families with young children and those needing assistance to board first. Stay close to the gate in readiness for your boarding to board the plane early so that you’re not trying to get organised at your seats and hold up the majority of passengers getting to their seats.
- When travelling with kids I recommend you sit towards the back of the plane. Not only does it keep you closer to the toilets and galley area to wander when bored, but it means the rest of the passengers are oblivious to what’ happening behind them (and that can be a big help when we think about being stressed with cheeky behavior!)
- Once seated, ensure you have everything at arm’s reach so you’re minimizing the number of times you access the overhead compartment. A separate bag under the seat containing DVD players, tablets, storybooks, colouring in and any other activities the kids need will be most helpful.
- Try to avoid sugary snacks to keep them quiet, you’ll regret it later! High protein snacks (especially those that take a while to eat) are best!
Remember, preparation will make for a much calmer experience on the day, so take time to get ready for your flights in the days leading up to your holiday. That way, when the day arrives, you can look to enjoy the experience with your children rather than being worried about being unprepared. For more information on flying with infants and children, click here.