If the thought of getting onto an airplane with your small children freaks you out, you have come to the right place. Do not fear! I have listed a few simple tips on how to keep your kid happy during the flight.
First of all, talk about the airplane beforehand to get rid of any fears and get them excited. Pull up photos of what the plane will look like, talk about how taking a plane gets you to your fun vacation faster, etc. An easy way to build up excitement beforehand is to watch a kids movie that involves planes!
Bring a few new toys and surprise them with them once you’ve boarded the plane (even if you just dig out toys that they haven’t seen in a while!). Novelty is your best friend. The new-factor will engage their attention for that much longer and add to the excitement. Make sure to bring toys that don’t have small parts that can fall off the tray table and get lost, though. Nothing will bring on a tantrum faster than losing Mr. Lego Guys’ head. A great way to keep toys from falling is to buy a Velcro mat to adhere to the tray table and stick Velcro onto the bottom of a few toys. Even if you hit turbulence, they most likely wont go anywhere, and the Velcro is a new and fun experience for the kids that should keep them entertained even longer than normal. (My mom would stick a small piece of Velcro onto the bottom of checkers pieces and in the middle of each square so that we could play checkers on the plane without the pieces sliding around. There are lots of clever ways to add Velcro to your activities.)
Have everyone chew bubble gum (or, if they aren’t old enough for gum, have them suck from a bottle or sippy cup) when the plane is taking off. This will help their ears adjust to the change in pressure and keep them from hurting. Be sure to have some candies and snacks packed for the ride, too. Especially if it’s a long flight. This will save you a lot of money on buying food in the airplane or at the airport, and can serve as something to bribe your crying toddler with (ha, just kidding. Sort of…).
Bring the iPad or a portable DVD player if your airline doesn’t offer movies in the plane. Whether they play pre-downloaded games or watch a show, the technology is sure to keep them distracted and less likely to start whining.
As long as you bring a few different things to keep them distracted (movies, games, coloring books, story books… etc) and some snacks to keep them full, you should be totally fine. Building up the excitement before you leave will also help as well.
Good luck and safe travels!
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