We have flown with our one-year-old daughter on five occasions before but this latest time has been the most difficult yet.The first trip to Lisbon was well prepared and relatively problem free. Our recent trip to Copenhagen was the first time since we had potty trained… That and now the word ‘no’ is the favoured response to pretty much everything at the moment. So far we have experienced flying with kids to be quite easy, and although our latest experience wasn’t that bad I can see how things can go wrong! (My husband thinks the latest debacle was at the time, the worst thing ever).
Rebelling against the rules
When flying with kids it can be hard to explain the rules to young children. They don’t understand why they have to wait in line or stay seated for a long time. This is multiplied when they just don’t want to do what they are told.
Our latest experience included running around the airport, climbing on baggage and refusing to stay seated and wear a seatbelt whilst on the plane. You can understand it too, an airport is a fun place for kids. They don’t understand they might get lost or that they need to follow the safety rules. They just want to have fun. Add that to the recent understanding that they do not need or have to do what their parents say equals rebellious behaviour!
Of course, we survived it wasn’t that bad but it felt like it was going to last forever at the time. In fact, sometimes it was quite funny. If you have kids you’ll know its so hard to keep a straight face and try not to laugh! Our daughter sat there on the plane saying ‘No Daddy’, ‘No Mama’, ‘No Everyone!’ I couldn’t help but stifle a snigger.
So what can you do to ease the journey?
I have learned a few things from our many trips, but the past few have been steeper learning curves. I like to think we’ve been pretty prepared for almost anything that came our way. But there are times when you think you want the ground to swallow you up there and then. You cant account for every eventuality. That’s life, unfortunately. However, there are a few things you can do to make the journey easier.
Keep them entertained by any means necessary
Ok, so we all know that we need to limit TV time, too much iPad is bad. We congratulate ourselves on how we keep them away from this most of the time. However when you are traveling, if there’s an app or a show that keeps them entertained and not trying to undo their seatbelt and escape, then it’s totally fine! I have come to realise that although I don’t want my daughter glued to a screen, there’s a time and a place. For example, when you are confined to an aeroplane, coach or car for hours!
Always have a snack handy
Being in strange airports and traveling at inconvenient times can lead to mealtime confusion for kids. Plus even a healthy snack keeps them quiet and occupied for a while. A familiar snack also reminds them of home and brings some comfort. We stock up on a few snacks and smoothies from home to keep our girl happy whilst traveling. You don’t need much just a few to improve those hangry, grumpy moments.
Find a kids store to explore
At the last few airports we have been to, there has been a toy shop with a Lego play area. I don’t even feel guilty about letting her play and not buying anything anymore. She loves blocks at this age and it’s a great distraction when you have time to kill. Our daughter has learned to look at things and put them back, even today she told me to put a toy back. (This might be a phase too and soon she may well want to keep everything). But at the moment I’m taking advantage of free entertainment!
Let go a little
Holidays are times to relax, so I’ve learned to relax the rules a little too. Its a time for changeable schedules but you also need to be prepared for confusion. The great thing is when you are on holiday you have more time. So you can spend quality time with kids. I personally learn a lot about how my daughter is developing when we spend time together on holiday. You get that one to one time when flying with kids so you can enjoy the small special moments away from everyday distractions.
Flying with Kids, what are our future plans?
Well, we have a long haul flight very soon so I hope the things I have learned will help us the next time we fly. I’ll let you know how we got on after our next trip. Our baby is getting used to flying so it may get easier but it also may get harder too. The best things I can suggest for both you and us is to be relaxed, have fun and remember even if it is going wrong when flying with kids won’t last forever.
If you have any other tips for fellow readers please leave a comment. It’s always great to hear from others who have experiences to share. And please tell me I am not alone!