Fear of ﬂying is a real phenomenon. Some who avoid planes are terrified of heights. Others abhor the insecure sense that comes with hovering thousands of feet above ground. But traveling with children can produce an entirely new bout of ﬂying anxiety. Why the panic? Well, some moms fear the hours of open-ended time that are involved when ﬂying to a far-off destination. Others hope their children don’t whine for an entire 12-hour ﬂight. Still others may worry that their children will be those noisy kids who cause lots of eyebrow-raising. But luckily, there are proven ways to ease children into the “quiet and seated” mode that ﬂying entails. So, if you are ﬂying with children, bear these tips in mind, and avoid the stressors that may necessitate a vacation from your vacation!
To Each His (or Her) Own There is one particular scenario to avoid at all costs. Picture this: It is two hours into the flight. Things seem pretty peaceful, until everyone begins to act up all at once. Your baby starts to shriek and you realize he needs a diaper change. Your three-yearold starts nagging, “Mommy! I want my coloring book!” Your 10-year-old asks ever so politely for his Gameboy. And suddenly, you get that foreboding knot in your stomach. Yes, you have done it again. Four hours before take-off, you stuffed everything you and your entire clan would need into one medium-sized carry-on luggage. Now the diapers are beneath the textbooks that your high school daughter brought along. The coloring book is sandwiched between eight different sweaters. And as you realize that you have no
O READERS I W
n every ﬂight, I bring a dry erase board and play games like Hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe with my kids. They love it! Paper and crayons are great for the little ones.
f my kids are noisy on a ﬂight, I apologize to the people sitting behind me. I ﬁnd that my awareness is appreciated.
hen my kids get antsy, I take one or two at a time for a walk down the aisle. This seems to calm them down!
idea where on earth the Gameboy is, you hope it isn’t broken. Plus, there is no space for you to start rummaging through the 40-pound wheelie that’s tightly stowed away in the overhead. Rewind: Instead of squeezing it all in one place, give each child a small back-pack and tell them to bring the items they may need while in flight. And as you scurry through the airport and survey your children running alongside you with their personal back packs, you can breathe a sigh of relief as you recognize that, with Gd’s help, there will be no frantic in-flight rummaging.
Talk it Out “Mommy! I don’t know what to bring!” This is a great time to step in, since children can get overwhelmed when creating the “should-bring” and “should-not-bring” piles. Sit with the younger ones and create a list detailing what they can use on the plane, and what they should leave at home. Help your older children write up a list, as well. On the “bring” lists, include games, toys and books that will keep both younger and older kids occupied. Remind your children that a vacation is pretty brief, and so there is no need to pack six teddy bears or an entire headband collection. Help them weed out what they don’t need.
If You Give a Kid a Cookie… Make sure your children have what to snack on. True, many airlines provide kosher cookies, but it is still best to take precaution when it comes to food. Who knows? Your children may get a case of the munchies during times when snacks are not offered. Or the airline may only offer fig-flavored cupcakes, which your kids may politely (or not so politely…) decline. Kids (and adults!) get cranky when they are hungry. So prepare an easy, mess-free lunch, such as yummy cream-cheese sandwiches, and some choice snacks, for the whole family.
Oh Baby! For those traveling with the tiniest of copassengers, it is important to get on board with a fully stocked diaper bag. Bring the essentials: pampers, baby wipes, bottles, a blanket and a few extra changes of clothes. Baby Tylenol is a good idea, too, in case of teething or sneezing emergencies. Be sure to bring all that the baby may need while in flight!
They are Children, After All Children love to run, jump and play, and getting them to sit is a challenge. Understand that flying is difficult for them, and focus on their positive behavior. And as the plane touches down on the ground of your vacation spot, take note of the fact that the flight you anticipated for so long has just become a thing of the past!
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