by Lori Lite
Nothing is worse than realizing that the screaming child on the plane is your own! The restrictive space and criticizing eyes of other passengers puts parents at an extreme disadvantage. Most children realize that you will most likely not discipline them in public. So how can you avoid this challenge and set yourself up for a Stress Free trip?
Travel Tips for Family Travel
- Pack an activity bag. My secret ingredient was Crayola modeling magic. Bring a few different colors but only give your child one color at a time. Whenever they grow tired of the color surprise them with another color. Bring a few sculpting tools like plastic fork, spoon, q-tips. Don’t be surprised if the adult passengers want to join in on the fun. (Even young children enjoy watching the parent work the clay.)
- Allow more time than usual for traveling. A rushed child is often a screaming child.
- Pack healthy snacks and drinks. Most airlines no longer offer meals or anything more than peanuts and pretzels. A hungry or thirsty child is usually a crying child.
- A laptop with a movie and headphones is a great way to keep kids entertained on a plane.
- Bring along relaxation tracks or classical music. The best scenario is a sleeping child until you land!
- Most children cry during takeoff and landing. Try to plan bottle time for takeoff and landing. The sucking action helps babies clear their ears.
- A pacifier can work wonders on clearing ears. If need be get a bit of sugar on it to encourage sucking during takeoff and landing. Older children will benefit from a lollipop or gum. (Note: I am not normally a sugar fan but desperate plane ride moments call for this trick).
- Children can be taught simple relaxation techniques ahead of time. Children that know how to focus on their breath as they breathe in and out can employ this technique on the plane. Even the youngest will settle down from just feeling the parent breathe this way. Indigo Dreams CD features stories that incorporate breathing for relaxation.
- Get your child used to the word NO. Trying it on an airplane for the first time will only get you screams and resistance. Remember, setting clear boundaries and rules helps children feel safe and calm.
- Let children have their own carry on. Let them be in charge of it and what is packed. It keeps them involved, gives children a sense of independence, and builds self-esteem . The Trunki Saddlebag or Suitcase by GummyLump are adorable, functional, and doubles as a sit-upon riding toy.
- Let your child pack something special that makes them feel secure. Guiding your child to mother or father their doll or stuffed animal can eliminate fear and ease anxiety. Let them explain to their travel buddy exactly what they will be doing during the trip. This empowers the children and eases their own anxiety of not knowing what to expect.
- Many children are attached to their strollers or blankets. I have seen children scream when they check the stroller or leave it at the entrance to the plane. Practice this scenario at home so that you can eliminate the screaming on the plane. My own daughter once thought that the security screening machine was a monster and it was eating her blanket and stroller. Live and learn.
- Many children cry over the seat belt being put on. This can be practiced ahead of time by playing airplane at home prior to your trip.
- Try to make sure your child has a good night sleep prior to the trip. A well rested child is a happy child.
Know that you are not alone. Most parents feel helpless in the contained situation of an airplane. Even implementing time out is difficult on a plane. For children that need encouragement, a reward system for the flight can work wonders. You know your child best. Plan ahead so that you can have a stress free trip!
Our Indigo Dreams CD Series introduces children to relaxation techniques. Help your children fall asleep while you travel and sleep peacefully in unfamiliar surroundings. Happy Travels from Stress Free Kids!
Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.
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