The gentleman speaking looked old enough to be a grandfather and meant his statement as praise of my little family. At least I think he did.
We were disembarking a plane after a 7 hour journey from Rhode Island to San Antonio, Texas. My 4 kids (ages 3-8) had been awake since 5:30 that morning and were exhausted.
To my amazement our flights departed on time, turbulence was minimal, and my children behaved beautifully. You would have thought they were experienced travelers instead of newbies.
So, how did I take 4 children on a cross-country airplane journey and have a fun time?
I planned snacks.
I looked over our itinerary and realized we had a one hour layover at 10 AM followed by a 4 hour flight. That meant no lunch. Not a good thing for young kids! So, I packed snacks, peanut butter sandwiches, and cut-up apples in each of their carry-on backpacks. It took a few minutes the night before to prepare everything but was definitely worth it!
I planned entertainment.
We don't own portable DVD players, smart phones, or tablets so our entertainment was low tech. I packed books, coloring books and crayons, and card games in each of their carry-on backpacks.
But the most important entertainment happened when we INTERACTED WITH OUR CHILDREN on the plane. We read books aloud. We played UNO. We talked about what we could see outside our windows. Most children will sit quietly if mom and dad are paying attention to them. Mine usually do.
I planned for emergencies.
My youngest is mostly potty trained and has been dealing with ear infections lately. Being "mostly trained" I felt Pull-Ups were a better idea than big boy underwear. I could just imagine us taking off and Sam declaring he needed to go to the potty! I also put a complete change of clothes in his carry-on backpack just in case of accidents. Unfortunately, we ended up using them!
A few days before our flights, we visited our pediatrician just to be sure Sam's ears were clear. Thankfully they were but our awesome pediatrician wrote a prescription for ear drops anyway. He explained that they would numb the ear drum for a couple of hours and make take off much more pleasant for Sam (and everyone else on the plane).
I don't think traveling by plane with small children takes courage, but it does take planning. If you pack plenty of snacks, entertainment, and emergency supplies you will also have a great trip with your children!
What's your best tip for flying with children?
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