Summertime is the time for travel for most families. The kids are out of school, the weather is great, and you need a break from work to regenerate. So where do you go? Chances are you want a place that entertains the kids while still providing a relaxing and hopefully pampering atmosphere for you. If you are flying solo as a parent, you REALLY deserve the pampering.
Start with buying your enfant their own seat. It will be easier for you and safer for them. Some airlines like Norwegian, will give you discounted tickets for kids under the age of 12 and will supply a special seat if you don’t bring along an airpalne certified car seat, which I highly recommend… you’ll want it for the rental car too.
Bring a sling for your infant. You’ll use it all the time and it’s easy to carry in your purse or diaper bag. The diaper bag, bring enough to last for three hours beyond your flight. Why? Well, that’s how long the airline can keep you on the plane if there is a problem. That time frame changes for international flights, so check ahead and pack accordingly!
Since every person is aloud a carry-on, there is no reason not to bring a bag of goodies and toys on the plane for each kid to carry. Bring along some healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips and seeds. They are high in nutrition and calories which is perfect for kids, not to mention it gives them something to do with their hands and mouth. Crackers are great for little ones to soak up the drool and work a teething mouth, but keep in mind that anything salty is going to require a drink to wash it down. I like bring a couple of organic all natural juice boxes that are 3-4oz. TSA has never taken them during screening, as long as I let them know.
Toys are always tricky, not too small to roll under the seat and get lost, but not to big to take over their seat or your seat area. For infants, bring a pacifier. It will help entertain them and it will help pop their ears as the altitude changes. For toddlers, bring a small blanket and a few toys. The blanket provides comfort and can be used to hide under for a variety of games. For all kids, bring a book or two, Reading to them is a great way to calm them and keep them engaged in something without being too disruptive. Although, I was on a flight where this elder man got a bit upset that I was reading to my son. It disturbed his midday nap.We drew for awhile until he fell asleep and then went back to our book.
Some parents might be scoffing at this, but in the end, we made more friends from the rest of the passengers. When we landed, we had tons of people asking to help us with our stuff and my son received an airpline pin from the flight attendants for being such a wonderful passenger. Special treatment for such a simple act. Kindness does go a long way.
It should go without saying, but bring your kid’s favorite item: stuffed animal, toy, blanket, hat… whatever it is, bring it.
And that gets you through the flight. Unless you are at some remote location, anything you forget came be bought or rented on sight, even diapers can be delivered right to you, so relax and enjoy. Teaching your kids how to plan ahead and still go with the flow is a great skill set to learn.