Step1 Its all just a matter of time To survive air travel with your children requires solid planning. Specifically, will trip be non-stop or have a stop? What time of day will you be flying? Is your child healthy or do they have a cold, fever, etc.?
These things will definitely influence how you will travel and what steps to take to make the trip as pleasant as possible.
If possible, fly when the child will be prone to a nap, and on a full stomach. If the flight is under 3 hours, try to fly non-stop. If its over 5, try to have one stop. If its over 8 hours, try to get a non-stop flight.
Step2 Keep them entertained If your kids can’t sleep, keep them entertained. Fortunately, many planes today have some sort of video program, however, they may be inappropriate for younger children. If that is the case, or your kids don’t like video entertainment, bring coloring books and crayons, but NO MARKERS!
On longer flights, imagination games that challenge the child’s mind helps both you and them. It also creates quality time and gives you insight into how the child thinks.
If you have two kids or more, find ways they can play together, like travel checkers, cards, or something like Mad Libs.
Step3 Keep them safe! If your child requires a full car seat, and you purchased a flight ticket, it may be worth it to have the child sit in the car seat on the plane. The child is already conditioned to not moving around in the car and will be less apt to try to get out and walk around on the plane.
Step4 Keep them comfy! Dress the child in comfortable clothes and have at least one set of spare clothes handy. Nobody likes to be hot or cold, not to mention itchy or constrained. Clothes that are slightly warm encourage sleep, which is a good thing.
One of the main reasons that small children have outbursts on planes is that they are over-tired. With the excitement of the airport and the plane, they find it hard to rest. You can minimize this risk by keeping a close eye on their diet. Reduce sugar intake, NO caffeine, and try to keep sweets down to a minimum. Insure that you feed your children as close to their regular mealtime as possible, even if its just some crackers. Children are creatures of habit. Try to keep them in their routine as much as possible.