Flying with Kids Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide for Every Age Group

Flying with kids can be a daunting task for many parents. From packing and planning to dealing with security and boredom, there are many challenges and potential pitfalls that can make air travel stressful and exhausting. However, flying with kids can also be a fun and rewarding experience, if you follow some simple tips and tricks that will make your journey smoother and more enjoyable. Here are some of the best ways to fly with kids of different ages and make your flight a breeze.

Flying with Babies

Babies are the easiest travelers in some ways, as they don’t need much entertainment or space. However, they also have special needs and can be unpredictable and fussy at times. Here are some tips to fly with babies:

  • Choose the right flight time: Try to book a flight that coincides with your baby’s nap time or bedtime, so they can sleep through most of the journey. Avoid flights that are too early or too late, as they can disrupt your baby’s routine and make them cranky.
  • Choose the right seat: If possible, book a bulkhead seat or a seat near the window, so you can have more legroom and privacy. You can also request a bassinet or a car seat from the airline, depending on availability and regulations. Alternatively, you can bring your own car seat or baby carrier, as long as they are approved by the airline.
  • Pack smart: Pack a diaper bag with all the essentials for your baby, such as diapers, wipes, changing pad, bottles, formula, snacks, pacifiers, toys, blankets, and extra clothes. You can also pack a small first aid kit with medications, thermometer, and bandages. Make sure to pack enough for the flight and possible delays, but don’t overpack as you will have to carry everything around.
  • Feed on takeoff and landing: To prevent ear pain caused by air pressure changes, feed your baby on takeoff and landing. You can breastfeed, bottle-feed, or give them a pacifier or a snack. This will help them swallow and equalize the pressure in their ears.
  • Keep them comfortable: Dress your baby in layers, as the temperature on the plane can vary. Bring a blanket or a jacket to keep them warm or cool as needed. You can also bring a pillow or a stuffed animal to make them feel cozy and secure.

Flying with Toddlers

Toddlers are more active and curious than babies, which means they need more stimulation and attention. They can also be more prone to tantrums and meltdowns if they are bored, tired, or hungry. Here are some tips to fly with toddlers:

  • Involve them in the process: To make flying more fun and exciting for your toddler, involve them in the process of preparing and packing for the trip. You can let them choose their own backpack or suitcase, their own snacks and toys, and their own outfit for the flight. You can also explain to them what to expect at the airport and on the plane, and answer any questions they may have.
  • Bring lots of entertainment: Toddlers have a short attention span, so you need to bring lots of entertainment options to keep them busy and happy. You can bring books, coloring books, stickers, puzzles, games, dolls, cars, or anything else that your toddler enjoys playing with. You can also download some apps, videos, or music on your phone or tablet for them to watch or listen to. Don’t forget to bring headphones and chargers for your devices.
  • Bring lots of snacks: Toddlers can get hungry easily, so you need to bring lots of snacks for them to munch on during the flight. You can bring crackers, cheese sticks, fruit pouches, granola bars, cookies, or anything else that your toddler likes eating. Avoid messy or sticky foods that can spill or stain. You can also bring some water or juice for them to drink. Avoid sugary drinks that can make them hyperactive.
  • Let them move around: Toddlers need to burn off some energy and stretch their legs during a long flight. You can let them walk up and down the aisle when it is safe and allowed by the crew. You can also take them to the back of the plane where there is more space to play or do some exercises. Just make sure to keep an eye on them and not disturb other passengers.
  • Reward good behavior: To encourage good behavior from your toddler during the flight, you can reward them with praise, stickers, small toys, snacks. 

Flying with Preschoolers

Preschoolers are more independent and communicative than toddlers, but they can also be more stubborn and defiant. They can also get bored easily and need constant stimulation and interaction. Here are some tips to fly with preschoolers:

  • Engage them in conversation: Preschoolers love to talk and learn new things, so you can engage them in conversation during the flight. You can ask them about their favorite things, their hobbies, their friends, or their dreams. You can also teach them about the places you are visiting, the culture, the language, or the history. You can also play some word games, such as I Spy, 20 Questions, or Would You Rather.
  • Bring some surprises: Preschoolers love surprises, so you can bring some small gifts or treats for them to unwrap during the flight. You can bring some new toys, books, stickers, or candy for them to enjoy. You can also make some activity packs with coloring pages, puzzles, mazes, or dot-to-dots for them to do. You can also use these surprises as incentives for good behavior or milestones during the flight.
  • Be flexible and patient: Preschoolers can be unpredictable and moody at times, so you need to be flexible and patient with them during the flight. You may need to adjust your plans or expectations according to their mood or needs. You may need to switch activities or snacks more often than you planned. You may need to deal with some tantrums or meltdowns along the way. Try to stay calm and positive, and don’t take things personally.

Flying with School-Age Kids

School-age kids are more mature and responsible than preschoolers, but they can also be more bored and restless. They can also be more opinionated and demanding about their preferences and choices. Here are some tips to fly with school-age kids:

  • Involve them in decision-making: School-age kids like to have some control and input over their own experiences, so you can involve them in decision-making during the flight. You can let them choose their own seat, their own entertainment, their own snacks, or their own activities. You can also ask them for their opinions or suggestions about the trip or the destination. This will make them feel more valued and engaged.
  • Bring some educational materials: School-age kids are curious and eager to learn new things, so you can bring some educational materials for them to use during the flight. You can bring some books, magazines, maps, guides, or flashcards about the places you are visiting or the topics they are interested in. You can also bring some quizzes, trivia, or puzzles for them to solve. This will keep them entertained and informed at the same time.
  • Encourage independence and cooperation: School-age kids are capable of doing many things on their own, so you can encourage independence and cooperation from them during the flight. You can assign them some tasks or responsibilities, such as packing their own bag, checking in their own luggage, holding their own boarding pass, or helping their younger siblings. You can also encourage them to cooperate with you and other passengers by following the rules, being polite, and sharing their space and resources.

These are some of the best ways to fly with kids of different ages and make your flight a breeze. By following these tips and tricks, you will be able to enjoy your journey with your kids and create some wonderful memories together. Happy flying!