If you fly with kids you know how stressful it can be! Diaper bag, backpacks, suitcases, your purse, technology to keep everyone entertained and oh yeah… the kids!!!
Flying with your kids can put your cool and collected mom meter to the test. Just the process of traveling, safety considerations and the logistics of getting them from point A to point B is ALOT. No matter how good you are!
Looking to decrease the stress level for you and the kids when flying? Keep reading for 9 simple tried and true techniques and tips to make flying with kids WAY less stressful for you and them! You won’t even believe how easy it is! They are broken down into three categories. Preparation ideas, powerful carry on tip and travel day tips!
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9 Ideas to Decrease Stress When Flying With Kids
After growing up in the military, traveling and raising my own two kids in the military I have A LOT of experience with this! Not to mention all of the travel we did just for fun. My kids have been experienced travelers since they were in diapers. Use these tips and techniques that are tried and true to make flying with your kids a breeze.
Easy Prep Ideas to Decrease Stress
- Comfort Toy For Little Ones
- Bring one comfort toy for each of your kids. Think sensory when you’re picking this out. Obviously something smaller is better but ultimately this should NOT be something new. You want to pick something that comforts them. If they are little this may be something soft, or even better… have multiple textures.
- For older kids or teens bring (or have them pick) one thing that is their “go-to”. It seems a little ridiculous but when stress levels rise it will make a HUGE difference.
- Pack “Special” Snacks
- Pick something that is not a snack they get every day. You want something they love and you know they will enjoy!
- This is a bad time to test something new.
- Prepare Them For Your Travel Plans
- Tell them what to expect – very clearly…
- Everything from when you need to be ready and when you will leave.
- Prepare them for going through security at the airport, waiting in the airport, taking off, the light itself and landing.
- Literally everything. Don’t forget about waiting for your luggage after you land.
- Tell them what to expect – very clearly…
- Check Your Bags
- Typically I am a carry-on only kind of girl… not when you are travelling with little ones though.
- Go ahead and save yourself those extra bags to worry with – check them.
- Don’t forget to keep your meds with you in your carry-on!
- Grab my favorite Packing Tips Checklist here! It’s a totally free PDF download.
Life-Changing Carry-On Tips For Flying With Kids!
I figured this out very early in my children’s lives and I am SO THANKFUL! It’s such a simple idea but it worked EVERY SINGLE TIME we traveled! I even got to where I would do this for long car trips too. This is truly the difference maker and you won’t even believe how great it works!
- Surprise Bags for Carry-On!
- Tell them they will each get a surprise carry-on bag. You DEFINITELY want them to know they will be getting it.
- Pick a backpack they can easily carry and fit under the seat on the plane.
- Add items that are in all different categories
- Paper and Pens or Pencils
- Color Book (even for adults… it’s fun!)
- A book or two
- A game or two
- Travel puzzle game
- Random little toys/trinkets to engage them on the flight and in the airport
- Go ahead and aim for the full size color book but go small on the other stuff.
- You pack the bags and keep them hidden until you get ready to leave.
- Tell them ahead of time they get to open it on the plane!
- Let Them Pick 2 Things For Their Bag!
- Set size parameters!!!! (Try using a piece of paper with the size on it so they have a visual que.)
- Explain before you take them to shop for the items that THEY WILL NOT GET TO USE IT UNTIL THE FLIGHT
- Explain that you want them to pick something you KNOW they will want to use
- If they struggle (or you know they will) with not getting to use it right away put a countdown to travel day and have them make it!
Surprise Bag Changed Our Travel Experience Completely!
This was absolutely critical and totally changed travel day for our family! I have shared this tip with so many moms and I have yet to have it not work!
Make adjustments for your family! Some of my friends have let their kids see everything in the bag ahead of time and had the kids help them pack it. Others had the kids pick one thing and didn’t tell them about the bag at all! It’s totally up to you! You know your kids better than anyone… do what will work for you!
Travel Day Tips For Flying With Kids
There are only two tips here and the last one is the most important of ALL! This is keeping it simple at its finest.
- Get A Window Seat
- If it is at all possible, get a window seat!
- Kids can look at what they see and draw pictures or write about it
- Set aside time when you get to your destination for them to share what they saw.
- It’s a GREAT distraction!!
- Traveling with more than one child? Set up a schedule to switch seats!
- Stay Calm
- Your kids will feed off of YOUR energy
- Take a deep breath ~ they are kids and they aren’t perfect
- If people have an issue with that it’s THEIR problem… not yours!
- Talk to your kids and listen to them if they start to get frustrated ~ being aware will avoid the major meltdown
Changes Happen ~ Roll With It
Your worst nightmare is flight changes when flying with kids. You worked hard to prepare them for what is going to happen… change will just make that all for nothing, right? Harry Potter fans this is for you!
“I… WILL… have… ORDER!!!” ~ Dolores Umbridge
Ok, really, fan or not you are thinking it. The reality is no amount of anger, frustration or tears will make an airline change their flight plan back to what you were expecting. Prepare for possible changes so you are in the right mindset. Just focus on what CAN be done.
You are a mom which means you totally have got this!
This post was all about 9 tips and techniques to make flying with kids less stressful for you and your kids!