Is your family making spring break travel plans? Most of the school districts in the Dallas and far north Dallas areas such as Frisco, McKinney, and Allen schedule their spring breaks for early March. As a result, many people are making their travel arrangements now.
If you traveled with your children during December and the experience could have been better, we would like to offer some tips and support for making your next trip go a little more smoothly. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can make the travel experience much more pleasant for your children…and for everyone around them!
Travel early in the day
After the hustle and bustle of getting everyone out of the house and through the airport, you have a good chance of your child being worn out and taking a nap on the plane. Traveling earlier in the day also reduces the chance of flight delays. If at all possible, avoid booking flights with long layovers, which could be frustrating for your child and lead to irritability. Try to avoid late-night connections as well, as your child may be jarred wide-awake by the plane change and unable to settle back down.
Dress your child for travel
The temperature outside, inside the airport, and inside the plane may all vary greatly, so dress your child in easy-to-remove layers. Skip anything with buttons or ties. Zippers are your friend. Not only will they be more comfortable, you will have peace of mind knowing you will be able to get them to the bathroom and changed quickly. (Or undressed and on the toilet before an accident occurs!) For shoes, the same principle applies because it will make getting through security screening much smoother: skip shoes that lace up and opt for slip-ons.
Bring surprise snacks. Airlines typically provide shelf-stable snacks that are of little interest to a child. You may want to bring your own (make sure they fit security guidelines) or purchase some more appealing snacks in the airport shops prior to boarding. Please note that while traveling with snacks will involve additional time during the screening process, it can be worth the extra time if it soothes a fussy child during a long flight. Here are some good options:
- Crackers/Animal Crackers
- String cheese
- Granola bars
- Nilla wafers
In addition, surprise toys can turn a fussy child to an enthralled one, especially if it is a wrapped toy that takes them a small amount of time to unwrap. A small box of crayons and some drawing paper can be a lifesaver. If you allow electronics, a new game or video can help keep a child occupied and quiet on a long plane ride. Smartphones and tablets should be charged up and loaded with favorite movies or shows for quick access. Be sure to pack kid-size headphones, as your fellow passengers may not enjoy listening to your child’s favorite characters!
New items have more power to hold attention than an established favorite (although having those as back-up is a good idea.) Just be careful not to OVER-pack. Being prepared is great, but you won’t want to pack so much that you make it impossible for your family to get on and off the plane easily!
Prepare your child for air pressure changes
If your child has recently had an ear infection or a cold, give Dr. Leung a call before flying to discuss the possibility of changes in cabin air pressure resulting in pain or discomfort. Purchase bottled water after passing through security and have your child drink some after takeoff to help with air pressure changes. It will help guard against dehydration discomfort as well. The plane’s descent before landing is typically the most challenging time for ear pressure changes, so plan to have sufficient bottled water easily accessible during this time, and encourage your child to sip it frequently.
Pack hand wipes, sanitizer, pull-ups, and diapers. One diaper per hour of travel is recommended. When flying with little ones, you’ll want to wipe down everything because those little hands will be everywhere! If your child takes off their shoes while in their seat, be sure to put them back on when taking them to the bathroom. Planes experience turbulence, people can be unsteady, and there may be liquid on the floor that you would rather your child not step in.
Your little one’s favorite stuffed animal or woobie may help them fall asleep on the plane. If your child uses a pacifier, bring it and be sure to pack more than one in case the first ends up on the floor.
If your child is old enough, talk to him or her before your flight and explain what they can expect. Many times, children will remain calmer and behave better even under stress if they know what to expect. There are also child-friendly travel videos available on Youtube which illustrate the flight experience from baggage check-in and ticketing to how to behave politely onboard and airplane safety.
In the event that your child has a meltdown onboard, do your best to keep your composure. Your calm demeanor will help soothe your child much more than becoming frantic. While no one enjoys listening to a screaming child on an airplane, most people are empathetic when they see that parents are making efforts to calm their kids down or help them be quieter.
Jamie Spence | Content Manager
Seota Digital Marketing 972.737.2830