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We Asked, You Answered: Flying With Kids

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The last time I was on an airplane was in 2011 with my husband and our 12 month old daughter. We were headed to Texas to visit family and it seemed manageable to travel with 2 adults and 1 child. The ratio was in our favor and for most of our flights she was content to nap or nurse, read books or play with a few small toys I brought along.

Speed ahead to today and I’m prepping for another family trip. This time with my daughter who is now 4 years old and her 2 1/2 year old brother. It’s now 2 on 2! Little man is quite active and my daughter is a chatterbox so I’m having a wee bit of hesitancy about our upcoming flight.

flying with kids

I just finished reading Tsh Oxenreider’s book, Notes From a Blue Bike, and fell in love with some of her traveling with kids advice …

When it comes to our family’s flight companions, I’ve found they can be grouped into two categories – people who understand and are sympathetic to our plight, and people who do care but shouldn’t. As a recovering people-pleaser, it’s on the forefront of my mind all the time when we fly, but for our sanity, Kyle and I have learned: we can’t control how people react to us. We can only control our actions. So we smile at our neighbors. We apologize guiltlessly for our loquacious children. We respectfully tidy our space, and we frequently remind our kids of the necessity of physical and audible boundaries. We parent our kids, even when we fly.

That empowers me a whole lot, but I’m still wondering about logistics and other parents’ experiences. So, I turned to Facebook and our fellow Baby Gizmo moms and dads and loved some of the advice you offered when asked for tips about flying with kids! Some comments were super helpful and some just made me chuckle – thanks for all chiming in!

Here’s my favorite tips you offered …

  • Just remember you will never see these people again and relax 🙂 – Caitlin
  • Tell them what to expect and how you expect them to act. When they know ahead of time that their ears may hurt but it will go away soon they won’t be as freaked out about it if it happens… if they know that they are going to be flying up in the air and they can see all kinds of things below them they will be excited. I think kids are more afraid of the unknown than anything else. – Danae
  • I just flew with a toddler. Snacks, juice and the iPad were essential. – Marnie
  • Car seats!!! They don’t think they can get out, just like in the car. It will save you!!!! – Jennifer
  • Just flew with a toddler and preschooler and these are the things that helped. We packed a backpack for them with 1 present they could open on the plane- a doll or action figure, a coloring book and crayons, lots of snacks-cookies, crackers, chips in snack packs, headphones for each for DVD players ( rent them if you don’t have a computer or leap pad to bring for preschooler as this will free up time for toddler) and lots of wipes!!! And a tip we learned from a pediatrian that is a life safer, bring dum dum suckers!!! Both our toddler and preschooler had a terrible time with painful ears at departure and landing and the suckers were the only thing that worked!!!! – Brandy
  • Our favorite take off and landing treat is starbursts.. They make you salivate and chew a lot.. My older boys still use them to this day and they are 17 and 16. – Sandra
  • A quart sized bag full of folded up select-a-size paper towels (because you WILL need them). Most importantly – a change of clothes for everyone in the family, two changes for anyone still in diapers or prone to potty accidents. – Hollie
  • A kinderpack or tula so your hands are free! And you don’t have to remove the carrier thru security! – Alexandria
  • I take my favorite treat too because sometimes a mom needs it 😉 – Tara
  • Nothing helps! She’s doomed. Lol. – Gabby

What would you add? Give me all your tips for a successful flight with a 2 1/2 and 4 year old!

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