Travelling with Children first of all is a matter of preparation and organization like many things if it comes to family – Adventures and keeping negative surprises away. Every option that you have played through in your mind and prepared will be much easier to handle.
Here are a few guidelines
1. You need an Action Bag of entertainment
best things that your child does not know yet – invest and prepare ahead of time (books, play-doh, little cars, and such games after a certain age*) no noisemakers, please
2. If you are going through more than 3/4 hours of time change consider making half the time change ahead of the trip
a time change will take about 2 Weeks so start early and then you will actually be able to get most out of the vacation, instead of having to be awake all nights trough
3. Plan well on whether you want your child sleepy or well rested for the trip.
that depends on the character of your child, you mostly do want to prevent an angry cranky child
4. Keep Food and Drinks Handy
possibly also chewing gum/drinks for start and landing because of ear pressure
5. Explain to the child step for step what`s happening and talk about it before
age of the child is not important on this one…it helps you too, to keep explaining to the child what`s happening because if they don`t understand it still entertains and calmers to hear you talking
6. Earplugs for Children
one of the worst moments is when a child gets scared or wakes up several times and they just go crazy screaming because of it. That often happens because of announcements made by the crew or on and of turning of seat belt signs. To keep this from happening put earplugs into your child’s ears after they are asleep (carefully) or just dampen the ears with some snuggies will help to prevent this.
7. Are you sure you want to share a seat with your child?
consider well but 6 hours can be really long
8. Take turns if you are traveling with your spouse
9. Pick an extra blanket and pillow as you enter the plane or ask for it.
the blanket is great to build a little sleep fort between the front seat and the child’s back of a chair for sleeping and dimming the light, and the pillow for cushioning the arms/head when holding the child) Make sure it does not bother anyone left -right and in front and back
10. keep it easy… and give yourself time and it all will work fine
11. Valerian drops
I`m not a fan of unneeded drugs but what I always liked is having some Valerian handy in case the Child gets over excited about a situation
*the best reason to get your kids electronically entertained sure is long travel
If you go to visit family it might be helpful to stay a night or two in a hotel/motel or with friends to give you time to rest and calm and sleep before meeting the whole crowd.