Long flights are rough even on the best of days, but when you’re traveling with little kids? It gets tricky. You’re going to worry about them crying and stressing everyone out, but these tips can help you all survive and even enjoy the flight.
Don’t board too early.
I know, they say those with kids can board first. But do you really want to add time to your travel by sitting on the airplane for 45 minutes while everyone else gets situated? Give it a beat and board when you know you won’t struggle.
I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but pack different little bags of snacks. Some for the wait during boarding, some for in between meals, some for when they need a pick-me-up (like a cookie or special treat), just pack all the snacks.
Say yes to help.
If a flight attendant offers to hold your baby while you pee, let them. If the people behind you are playing peek-a-boo and making your kid laugh, let them. Let people help if they want, and give yourself some grace.
Request the bassinet for little ones.
It’s a nice, safe place for you to place baby on a long flight, giving you a break, and maybe they’ll catch some good sleep. Plus, it means you sit up front and have a little extra leg room.
Practice wearing headphones.
Headphones are a must on planes, especially long flights, so do lots of practice beforehand to make sure your kiddo’s ready to wear them.
Window clings & reusable stickers are your friends.
You know those big puffy stickers that you can stick and re-stick? Grab a bunch of those and some fun window clings for when kids get antsy on the flight and they’re tired of screens.
Don’t stress about screen time.
If they watch eight full hours of the iPad, just let them. Seriously, you can pick up new habits later, screen time is all about survival on long flights.
Save your bag of tricks.
Don’t pull out those sticker books or window clings until you absolutely need to. Sometimes too much “look at what I have!” can overstimulate a kid and make them even crabbier. Go slow. Spread out the fun.
Things could get uncomfortable.
And you just need to remember that! Even with all the tips and tricks, kids cry, they get fussy, you lose your patience — just don’t expect perfection, and everything will be OK.
Take a moment to enjoy it.
You’re flying! Through the air! With your kids! How cool is that? Talk about where you’re going, what you’re going to see, and how special it is to have this memory with them. Remember: this is supposed to be fun.