10 TIPS FOR FLYING WITH KIDS
I get a lot of questions on how to handle flying with kids since we seem to travel so much. Traveling with kids can be totally overwhelming, especially if it's your first time or a long flight. Even though we've flown so much since having kids & i still get a bit stressed before a long flight & it was no different our first time on a long flight with two kids. But, we have totally managed it & while we aren't pros or anything, I have definitely learned what works for my kids while flying & wanted to share all my tips with you!
1. Airplane Bassinet - A lot of times when you are going overseas or on a longer flight the airplane will have seats that have a spot for a bassinet for babies that are too young to sit up. I haven't seen flights that actually offer this up, but you can call & ask & request to be seated in these seats if they aren't already occupied. The bassinets are really great for your kids to sleep in & to have a spot to get their wriggles out. Make sure to call & ask your airline about the bassinets!
2. Cabin Pressure - This is a major killer for most kids & normally when the crying begins for most babies, so make sure to have something your kids can suck on to help with the pressure. When the plane takes off they pressurize the cabin which is when ears tend to start popping a bit & babies hate it. I either feed my kids a bottle/breastfeed (this normally makes them fall asleep too which is an added benefit!) or give them a pacifier for takeoff to help prevent the ear popping & so far it has worked every time we fly. Whether it's eating time or not, when they are little I will give them some milk & as Cedar has gotten older I just give him a pacifier. I've also heard of suckers or gum to help too.
3. Feedings - When it comes to flying I attempt to keep my kids on their bottle schedules as much as possible, especially if there is a time change because I find it helps them to adjust, but I also am a huge believer in feeding them whenever they start to cry because if you're like me, you will get stressed as soon as your baby screams on the airplane & a well fed baby is a happy baby! For older kids make sure to bring a loooot of snacks, Cedar gets so hungry when we fly so I always make sure to bring him something to eat.
4. Diaper Changing - Most airplanes now come equipped with a little changing table in the airplane bathroom, which is totally convenient. I have been on a few when Cedar was a baby & it was always the worst when he had a dirty diaper & I had to attempt changing him on my lap.. that was a mess. Anyway, most airplanes have changing tables but they're not the softest & airplane bathrooms gross me out as is, so I always take something for them to lay on so it's a little softer & cleaner. I also always change their diaper right before we take off in the hopes that my baby will fall asleep asap & I won't have to change them again!
5. Keep toys to a minimum - I have tried the whole "get all new toys so that they are excited & good on the airplane" method & it did not help me at all, I also have made the mistake of taking way too many toys. What I found to work best is to just select a handful, literally 5, of toys & pack them up a couple days before so when the kids see them they are excited. I also find it is easier for my kids when I choose the toys rather than asking them what they want to take, because I can limit the toys far easier than they can & it doesn't end in a fight. When packing the toys I try to take an arrangement of different things, a car, a dinosaur, a book, etc. so that there is some variation.
6. Sleeping - I said earlier that I try & keep my kids as close to their schedule as possible while flying & that goes for nap time to. Once Cedar got a little bit older & wouldn't fall asleep immediately on an airplane like the good old days, I would tell him when it was nap time & we would put away his toys or turn off his movie & give him his blanket, paci & a little stuffed animal. I try to keep it as similar as I can to napping at home, so I always bring him a small muslin blanket, pacifier & small stuffed animal to cuddle. As soon as I break those out he's normally good to go.
7. Stroller - Unless we are flying internationally I check our stroller at check-in. A lot of people like to bring it through & check it at the gate, but for me that has been nothing but a hassle. I rarely seem to have enough time to really need the stroller to go through the airport & I find it a lot easier to move without one. BUT! If we are traveling internationally I will normally check it at the gate because you have to be there so early & it's nice to have a place to hold carryons & what not.
8. Carseat - One of the best things we could have done was to buy a toddler carseat that fit in the airplane chair. Cedar does incredibly well when he's in a carseat & for our first big international flight with him we had him sit in one for the entire flight & it was amazing. When he was smaller he would go wild when he had his own seat & bounce all over the place, but the carseat kept him in his own space & he was totally contented, plus we then didn't have to rent a carseat when we got to our destination. We got a Diono Radian carseat to use as our travel carseat because it fits in most airplane seats, it is super heavy though which is the only bummer.
9. Movies/Tv/Games- I am a heavy believer in letting my kids zone out on an iPad or kindle during a flight. Like I said before, I get major stress when my kids are crying on an airplane, so I like to make them happy & if watching movies or playing games the whole time does it, then I will let them. I switch up what is downloaded on the device every so often so that it keeps him entertained & I don't let him play with it at home, so he is always pumped when I pull it out on the airplane. A major life changer when using iPads with little kids is Parental Control Mode. You can turn it on in settings & you set a password so when it is on the kids can't exit out of a game/movie or turn the sound up. It is super helpful with toddlers that don't know how to work an iPad very well & has helped prevent multiple meltdowns for us. There are a couple different settings within the Parental Control Mode too, so you can adjust it to how you like.
10. Pre-Boarding - Before having kids I used to wait till the absolute last second before I got on a plane, but since having kids I like to get on as fast as possible. Having time to get on & settled in is really helpful, the babies are happier, you have more time to get anything you might need out for the flight & a lot of airlines let you use iPads during takeoff now, which is also super convenient for little ones to stay occupied. Plus, you don't have to fight for overhead space if you need it!
I hope these tips are helpful & work for you! If you have any specific questions feel free to shoot me an email to email@example.com & I'd be more than happy to answer!
Labels: traveling with baby