The following are some useful tips for flying with small children:
1. Pack heavy. Even though most people try to pack light when traveling or going on vacation, with small children, the heavier you pack, the better off you are. You will want to take along anything you may need, because if you do need it, and do not have it, that is HUGE trouble.
So what should you pack?
a. Food: Most children enjoy eating, or at least eating snacks and treats. So, even if your child is a picky eater, it is smart to bring along some of their favorite foods in case they get hungry. This not only saves you money, but it saves the rest of the passengers from listening to your child cry and complain about hunger or not liking what is offered as a snack.
b. Drink: Planes do offer a wide variety of beverages, but they also have a lot of passengers to serve. So, in case their drinks do not get to them fast enough, or they do not have the special flavor of orange-colored drink your child likes, bring some along.
c. Toys: Your child will want to be entertained. After all, it is difficult for most adults to sit still doing nothing in a plane seat all day, that is why most adults bring magazines, books, or sleep while flying. So, bring some quiet, and portable toys for your child to enjoy while flying. Also, to capture their attention longer, consider buying a new toy, one that they have not played with before. Not only will they be more excited, but they will likely enjoy it longer, which means more quiet time.
d. Books: toys only last so long, so be sure to bring some books with great stories or pictures along so your child can stay entertained.
e. Clothes: A change of clothes may seem unnecessary, but small children have accidents, throw up when stressed or nervous, and sometimes spill. You will not want your child sopping wet and frustrated, so just in case, at least bring a clean t-shirt to change them into if needed.
f. Diapers: Even if you change their diaper one minute before boarding, and the flight is only an hour, you will want to have diapers with you. After all, do you really want to smell a stinky diaper for 2000 or more miles? So stick in a few more than you think you will need; you won’t be sorry.
g. Wipes: wipes are extremely useful, not just for changing diapers, but also for making sticky hands and faces clean, removing stains from clothes, etc. Bring along a fairly decent amount of wipes.
h. Medicine: If your child gets sick, is feverish, or doesn’t feel good, you will be wishing you had some medicine for them. Buy the travel size bottles, and take it along. Just be sure that you can get it through the airport security, you may want to call ahead to find out what is allowed, and what isn’t.
i. Bibs: Messes happen, and a great way to avoid big messes on their clothes is to pack a bib.
j. Spoons, forks, sippy cups, etc.: Planes are not exactly baby friendly, and chances are your child’s apple juice won’t be in a spill-proof cup, so unless you want to clean up unavoidable spills, bring your own.
2. Plan ahead. If you plan ahead, you can schedule your flight during your child’s regular nap times so that they will fall asleep during the flight. You can get them excited about flying, and help them understand what is going to happen, what they need to do, and how to handle being unhappy when they are on the plane.
3. If you have a long flight, take one with multiple stops. It might take you several hours longer to reach your destination; however, if you can stop every few hours, let your child get up, stretch their legs, and walk around, even use a regular bathroom and eat, they will be much more pleasant on the flight.
4. Take them to the bathroom. You know there is a bathroom on the plane, however, it is very small, and if your child needs assistance in the restroom, it can be difficult to maneuver. Also, most children find the plane bathroom very fascinating, and this can be fairly problematic if you have a small child or toddler who gets their mind set on playing in it. So, avoid having to use it by using the bathroom in the airport instead. Take your child to the bathroom before boarding the plane regardless if they have to go or not.