Parents who are preparing to set foot on a plane with small children can be, understandably, quite anxious about this experience. Children can be difficult adjusting to change and there’s nothing quite like flying in a plane. While some kids grow up loving every part of it, others may have fears about the experience – especially the idea of being off the ground! And when it comes to air travel, parents aren’t just concerned about their kids’ anxieties, but also about their safety. Airports tend to be massive, unfamiliar and exceptionally busy places – the perfect conditions to easily lose a child.
Travelling with your kids doesn’t have to be such nerve-wrecking experience if you take the initiative to plan ahead for your trip. Do what you can to prepare for every situation and take on board these helpful tips:
- Before taking your dream holiday overseas, it might be worthwhile to take a few cheap domestic flights with your children to familiarise them with the experience. This will help him or her to understand what to expect, from checking in luggage to the experience of take-off and landing. It will also help you as a parent identify areas which might present the most problems.
- Plan your time well and arrive extra extra early. Your children will probably end up slowing you down and nerves tend to be more frayed when you’re in hurry – not the ideal state to be in onboard an aircraft. Arrive early enough to avoid needing to stand in long queues, and to give you time to explain to the children what is happening at each step of the process.
- Teach your kids the “interesting stuff” about flying. By making it educational and exciting, many children will be less anxious about the experience. Enlist the help of airline employees to answer questions and see if can get your children introduced to the captain and pilot. A child is likely to find explanations from a person in uniform especially reassuring.
- Take along small items which can entertain the child without bothering other passengers. Noisy and bulky toys are generally bad choices but items that have a “long entertainment value” could be good. Puzzles, small travel games that can be played together and books might be good choices. Also think about what will be provided on the flight. Rock bottom cheap flights to London might not have on board entertainment options so you’ll have to come prepared. Consider your dining options as well, especially if your child is a picky eater. Take along snacks that will remain fresh and be easy to eat.
- Plan ahead to anticipate needs that might be stressful. Have a plan for how the ordinary tasks will be handled. Things such as bathroom trips, collecting baggage, buying last-minute snacks, etc will cause less anxiety if the child knows ahead of time that, for example, “Daddy will leave us to park the car, but we will wait for him in the building, and then we’ll get our tickets together.”
Good preparation and communication can help make air travel peaceful for you and your children – and your fellow passengers will thank you!