Tips for Preparing a Child for First Flight | Flying for the First Time Tips

The easiest way to get people on the plane to hate you is to fly with a toddler or baby. The continuous crying usually rubs other people on the wrong side. It is believed children cry on planes due to the fact that they are not good at pressure equalization in the middle ear because their Eustachian tubes don’t really function like those of adults. Thankfully, if you are a new parent or flying for the first time with your child, there are a few things you can do to ensure you have a smooth flight.

Here are some of them:

  • Direct flight is your best option

If you are flying with a kid or toddler, you want to make sure you have a minimum number of connecting flights. Landing is what causes a spike in pressure in children’s ears, resulting in pain that makes them scream. Also, you can avoid some mid-flight tantrums by spending less time in transit.

If you can’t find a direct flight or a longer layover flight, be sure to schedule some additional time on the ground amidst flights. This will ensure that you avoid running around through the airport check-ins and outs with a baby, car seat, diaper bag, and other stuff. Having a few hours (two or three hours) before embarking on your trip gives you and your child time to relax and for the baby to play around and tire off to sleep.

  • Use pre-boarding if possible

Pre-boarding is when a passenger is allowed to board a plane before others or ahead of the scheduled time. Many parents tend to skip pre-boarding so that they can spend as much time outside of the plane as possible, but that can be counterintuitive. The truth of the matter is, children take time to settle on the plane and pre-boarding helps them get used onboard a plane. You don’t want to be struggling with your baby or toddler while having irate passengers sighing behind you.

  • Buy your child a separate seat on the plane

Even though children under 2 years usually fly for free, it may be for your own and that of your child’s good to buy them a separate seat on the plane. This gives you a much-needed space to spread out on the plane without disturbing other passengers.

In fact, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the safest place for your baby “on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap.” The FAA continues, “Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.”

  • Prepare entertainment

Just like you would ensure your child is entertained during a road trip, make sure you also have things that will keep your child occupied on the airplane ride. However, this can be a bit complicated since you will be limiting the luggage that you bring depends on the dimensions carry-on bag. Obviously, you can’t bring every type of entertainment, but thanks to the new technology, you can have as many games on a tablet as possible.

So before your embark on your journey, make sure you download a set of games on a tablet to keep your child occupied and entertained for most parts of the journey.

Besides games, you can also buy kids’ movies or songs online. Games, songs, and movies are the best ways to keep your child busy so they don’t infuriate other passengers. With that in mind, also make sure you bring headphones as no one on the pane wants to listen to what your kid is playing.

Alternatively, books can also be a good source of entertainment if your child loves to read or a coloring book for drawing and painting.

Sometimes a seat by the window can also be fun for your child as it allows them to look outside as the clouds move.

Some planes also feature small televisions in the headrests. This allows you to buy movies or your favorite TV shows.

  • Bring plenty of snacks

Snacks can be a good way to silence your child for a few minutes on the plane. While airlines usually offer meals for purchase, your child may not like some of these foods. But since you are not allowed to bring excessive foods through security, you can always shop in airport stores and retail shops.

You can also try buying a packet or two of gum if your kid is old enough to chew. It has been found that chewing gum can help reduce the impact of the change in altitude, which children tend to have a problem dealing with.

  • Ensure your baby is buckled up

Keeping your child buckled snugly into an approved restraint is the best way to ensure the safety of your baby in case of unanticipated turbulence. A car seat is the best option for clasping your baby since she or he already knows it is a safe spot.

There will come a time when you will need to unbuckle your kid for a potty break, diaper change, or just to stretch; and chances are they might not want to go back to being buckled up.

  • Ignore the sighing passengers

Sometimes you may try everything to calm your baby down in vain. You can give them snacks, show them movies, change their diaper, but they still cry loudly. The best thing to do in this situation is to show other passengers that you have tried to calm the baby down. Just take care of your baby and ignore the cranky passengers on the plane.

Thankfully, parents fly with their babies all the time and most of the passengers have encountered it, so they will understand, particularly if they see you trying to manage the situation.

Don’t hesitate to ask or accept help from your fellow passengers who are willing to help out solving the problem. Most of them have been in your situation before and will surely offer a helping hand!

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