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Flying by yourself or with other adults can be stressful enough. When you suddenly have to start caring for children as well, the entire process of flying can become extremely stressful. However, it doesn’t need to be stressful at all! There are a few tips I learned on getting through the airport successfully and with minimal stress while flying with my children, both under two.
1. Knowledge is power! Stress of the unknown cannot be avoided. However, by looking up a map of the airport ahead of time and being up to date on TSA regulations as well as any other information about the airport and your schedule can help eliminate a lot of stress. You will be better prepared and better able to handle last-minute changes. The less stressed you are, the less stressed your child will be going through the airport.
2. Give yourself a lot of time. It takes a long time to get through the airport and to your gate by yourself. With children, it takes even longer. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to buy water and change diapers before boarding.
3. Pack less. As a family of four, we always try to bring only two suitcases and then our carry-ons, which are small and lightweight. This way we have less luggage to try and carry in addition to pushing a stroller.
4. Consider an umbrella stroller. They are inexpensive, small and easy to fold up. Especially if your child is older and will often walk, an umbrella stroller is an excellent option for traveling. If you have more than one child, there are double umbrella strollers or you can purchase a kit to connect two umbrella strollers together.
>> Buy this stroller by Delta Children here!
5. Go with the flow and always smile. This may not always be easy, but it helps! Remaining good natured and friendly is contagious. TSA will often help us gather our things and set up the stroller and we are often offered help with our carry-on bags when boarding.
6. Give your children their own bags. A small bag with wheels is fairly easy for young children to pull along. Giving them responsibility will engage them more in the process, as well as entertain them. While it takes a little longer to walk through the airport when your toddler walks, it also wears them out for the plane ride!
7. The actual plane ride is the most difficult because you can’t move and children love to move! Purchasing a few new toys, books and activities is a great option to entertain them. The dollar store often has some great options and, if you lose something, it was only a dollar. Some of our favorite airplane activities are stickers, coloring on a dry erase board with dry erase crayons (non-scented), cars, books and decorating dollar store greeting cards. Depending on the length of the plane ride, having a variety of snacks and water is important as well.
>> Get your own dry-erase crayons by clicking here!
8. Don’t stress about your child making a little noise on the plane. There are usually a lot of children on the plane and a little noise every once in a while is not going to bother the other passengers. By the end of most flights, we are often told how wonderful our children did while we were concerned that they had completely annoyed everyone!
Flying with children can be stressful, but being well-prepared and simply going with the flow is the best approach to keeping your children calm and well behaved. There are a ton of great websites sharing information about flying with children; a quick search on Pinterest with provide tons of information.
>> More by Nicole Miller: My Tips For a Successful Family Picnic