The most important thing you can do is to plan ahead. A couple of weeks before your departure, mentally go through the air travel process, from the time you get to the airport, through the check-in and boarding process, and up to the time you land. Write down what comes to your mind. Then look at your list, and see if you have all of the gear that you need for your children when you fly with them.
Find out what type of restraints your child will need based on his age and size. Your airline should have that information. If you are bringing a car seat, it must carry the approval from the TSA.
Flying with a young child means that you will need to pack extra gear for him. Essential items include an extra set of clothes and underwear. Flights are long, and restrooms may not be available when your little one needs it. If you child has an accident, that extra set of clothes will be very important. Make sure to bring along his favorite snack. Airline foods are limited in choices, so giving him his favorite will make the flight more enjoyable. Do not forget his favorite blankie or stuffed toy that he likes to cuddle with.
It is important to remind your child to behave well on the plane. Other passengers are in close proximity, in front of and behind him. An ill-behaved child can cause a disturbance on the plane that can result in an uncomfortable ride for everyone and an embarrassment to yourself. Think of ways to redirect bad behavior. Offer a reward and a lot of praise for good behavior to give your child more incentive to behave well.
Avoid seating your child in the aisle seat. Service carts often go down the aisle, and your young child may inadvertently stick out his arm or leg into the aisle, resulting in injury. It is best to seat your child at the window seat. It is a safer spot, and looking out the window into the clouds is more fun and interesting for him.
When your child is seated, keep his restraints on, even though the seat belt sign may have turned off. Air turbulence can be sudden, and keeping your child properly restrained can prevent any unnecessary injury.
Make the trip more special by bring special or new toys along. These are especially handy when you sense that your child is getting fidgety in his seat and is complaining of being bored. Bring along several new toys, and strategically use them one at a time to keep him interested and to redirect any potential cranky behavior.
Air travel has become more stressful over the years, and taking children along can add to the complexities. However, if you follow the basic tips in this article, you and your child can have a more pleasant experience traveling by air. destinations