Tips for Flying with Young Kids

Have you ever been to the airport and seen those families with 3-5 young kids in tow. Kids lagging behind or maybe crying on the floor. Well, that sounds like me right now with our young family. Whenever we choose to fly to a destination I know it’s going to take some planning and consideration to get us to our destination in one piece- both emotionally and physically. There are ways to make your flights a little more happy and peaceful. Hopefully these tips will help you out.

Give your kids a job. Yep the minute you step from your car onto the airport property each kid needs a job. This will hopefully keep them from running around and causing chaos. Maybe have them pull a suitcase or put on a backpack. Have them help you navigate by finding where to go. “Okay kids, we need to find the Southwest ticket counter. Who can find that?” or “Our gate is B17, be on the lookout for that number and let me know when you see it.” This will give them purpose in their walking and moving. Hopefully causing less crying and moaning. Plus, who can run around when you’re pulling a suitcase behind!

Make it an adventure. This is the start or end of your trip so make it an adventure. Play games like I Spy in the airport. This can keep them entertained before boarding. You can also make a list of everything you want to do on your upcoming trip. Or, if just finishing a trip, have them color what their favorite part of their trip was. You can also play a counting game. “How many people can you see with a red shirt on?” or “How many people are wearing glasses?” Maybe do a few trivia questions about your destination. Show them the map on your phone and talk about what they can expect. Just keeping them curious and learning will help the time go faster when waiting to board.

Choose good seats and use family boarding. If you fly, you’ll notice most airlines will give families with young children the chance to board after the A group boards. This will give you the opportunity to sit together if you don’t have assigned seats. If you are able to choose assigned seats, think of your kids needs. Do they need to be closer to the bathroom? Do they get nauseous? If so, maybe choose seats closer to the front where it is usually less turbulent.

Be prepared with activities. This is definitely a must and you will be so happy that you were prepared. We love to bring Melissa & Doug sticker or water board toys. You can also bring chapter books for older kids or pictures books for the little ones. We also like to be prepared with electronics like iPads and laptops with movies already downloaded on them. Bring earphones too for the kids so they are comfortable. I try to give them books, toys, activities before snack time. That way it doesn’t drag on forever. Then when drinks and snacks come you can put all those activities away. After snack time you can get out the movies if you need or other fun activities you have planned. Break it up in section so they don’t get board- Reading time, coloring time, activity books, movie time, snack time and so forth.

Bring snacks and empty water bottles. Remember you can’t bring water bottles into the airport filled. So be sure to have them empty until you get through security. Then have the kids fill them up and put them in their bags. I almost always have kids who need drinks before we get our free one on the flight. This way they have it and won’t complain. In most cases you won’t get a lot of snacks on the flight too. It’s always about the last hour or so I need to get out a few snacks that I have prepared. Bring fun unique ones that last a long time.

Are there any other tips you have while flying with young kids? I’d love to hear it!