Sunday, April 11, 2010

ACK! Flying with kids.. how to survive

This isn't so much a medical topic as it is a parenting topic.

I've survived flying with 3 kids three times now. It can go well or it can be a disaster.. it's all in the mindset. My kids were 4,4 and 2 the first time we flew.

Here's what has worked for us:

The first thing we did was play "airport". I admit this idea was my son's speech therapist but it worked very well. We role played the entire experience from getting to the airport to getting to our destination. We talked about how they can't scream and how they have to sit down and might not be able to pee when they want and have to listen to the flight attendant. We also played getting on and off the plane and walking down the jetway. It didn't occur to me that they wouldn't realize we were flying to the AIRPORT in our destination city.

I pack a backpack for each kid and make sure it's light enough for them to carry. Put stuff to do but avoid little pieces like too many crayons, and things that can roll onto the floor. I also have a bag of distractors that are separate from their bags in case they get bored with what they have.

Food is your friend.. I bribed my 2 year old with snacks to keep her quiet. Yes I admit it.

If you're lucky they will fall asleep.I wasn't so lucky and had a nerve racking flight home from Disney world with a 3 year old who was kicking me the whole time. It was not fun.

Kids under 2 don't need a seat.. the first time we flew my youngest was 23 months old but we got her a seat. There's no way she would have sat otherwise. We also put her in her carseat on the plane to help her get the idea she needed to sit down. It worked fine but the carseat was a pain. The next time we flew we didn't bring it but she was older and knew how to sit down.

I think the most important thing is to keep calm and prepare the kids as much as possible.

Feel free to share your suggestions!

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