Flying is a common method of transportation for vacationers, but it can be anxiety- inducing for young children. Some take to it instantly, but like adults, many find the prospect of being high in the air daunting. Besides the fear of flying, traveling in general tends to be hard on a child.
Air travel takes a little more preparation than road travel when it comes to your kids, but the basic goal is the same. Make them more comfortable in order to ease your own stress. You can even book flight charter services that have some useful services that will help you in traveling with your babies. Here are five tips for preparing for and making the flight to your family vacation destination.
- Let them pack their own carry-on – Kids feel less stressed and more excited when given the chance to do some planning on their own. Explain to them that they’ll want things to do for the flight and allow them to pack their own carry-on. Though you’ll want to make sure they have the basics in clothing and hygiene products (in case the luggage gets lost), let them choose books, games, or activity books to keep them busy. Let them take some healthy snacks as well. Giving them control will keep their anxiety to a minimum.
- Prepare them for security – The new security measures imposed by airlines can be intimidating for adults. Children are likely to be intimidated and confused by the routines. Explain to them what’s going to happen and why it’s going to happen. Tell them that it’s a matter of safety and that they need to cooperate so they can get on the plane with no problems. You don’t have to make it scary. If the parents aren’t stressing about the shoe and baggage checks, children may not either. They may even find the whole process amusing. Being prepared for it, however, will take away one less element of surprise and one less chance of something going wrong on the trip.
- Let them chew gum – Because of the change in cabin pressure when the plane rises and lands, little ears are extremely sensitive to “popping.” This can be painful for children. Before the plan takes off and then again before landing, let children who are of an appropriate age chew a small piece of gum. If you have a child who is too young for gum, allow them something to drink during this time. The swallowing motion will keep their ears from feeling the effects of cabin pressure change.
- Put health first – Airplane cabins are often blamed for colds and other sicknesses due to the confined space and lack of fresh air. Children are already highly susceptible to illnesses, so in the weeks before the trip, make sure they get plenty of vitamins and healthy food. On the trip itself, let them have orange juice. Keep some Vitamin C drops handy and some kid friendly cold medicine for any symptoms of sickness once the flight is over. It’s also a good idea to pack them their own small travel pillow to avoid the germs on the airline issued ones. A sick child won’t enjoy the vacation and neither will their parents.
- Keep your cool – Children feed off their parents’ anxiety. If your kids know you’re nervous about turbulence or flying in general, they’re going to pick up on that. If you have a true fear of flying, try to find an alternate method of transportation to your destination. If flying is the only option, keep yourself calm and collected. Check into medicines beforehand that will ease your anxiety. Keep yourself busy by reading a book or watching a movie on a portable DVD player. If mom and dad are enjoying the trip, the kids are likely to follow suit.
A good vacation starts with a good trip. By making your child’s experience a positive one, you’ll not only enjoy your whole vacation, but you’ll set them up with a good precedent for future flights as well.