5 Ways to navigate flying with toddlers
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Enter the flight with the right expectations
Those flying with toddlers are often apprehensive. As a result, any behaviour that leads to high levels of noise can make caregivers nervous. It’s important to fully expect (and that there is no need to be embarrassed) when the child will likely at some point cry or have a tantrum. It’s inevitable that children will make noise, so try not to be over sensitised to it.
Laying the groundwork with children before the flight as well as adopting reasonable expectations of them is crucial as soon as booking the flight. Before the flight, talk to the child often about the plane, what will happen and what to expect. Chat about the seatbelts, the light up signs and sounds along with take off and landing. This will work to build excitement and ease any anxiety the child may be feeling with regards to the experience.
Pick your seats and enter the plane strategically
The front and back of the plane are always going to be high traffic areas as it’s where the bathrooms are located. Therefore, it’s likely that this is where the most distractions will be. It’s worth choosing your seats, accordingly, considering what is likely to entertain, and distress the child.
Also, consider when to enter the plane itself. If you and your party are the first on board, it can take up to half an hour for the rest of the passengers to take their seat. Ultimately, that’s an additional half an hour to entertain any children present. Book the seats in advance and towards the end of line.
Wrap and go
Rewarding children throughout the flight can not only entertain them but keep morale high. New toys can create further joy and pass ample time. Wrapping new toys is a great way to let the child know that good behaviour is rewarded and that flying is a fun experience.
Save the best until last
When you first sit on the plane, it’s tempting to entertain the child immediately by giving them every toy and iPad that you have packed. However, it’s vital that you entertain strategically. If every toy is given in the beginning, then if the child grows bored, there is nothing new to entertain them with. Present each product of entertainment one by one and save the best, or their favourite toy until last. This allows the level of entertainment to evolve throughout the flight.
Every aspect of the flight can be positioned as a new experience to the child. Reframe from letting them know that generally, you can walk up and down the airplane aisles. Instead, either let the child know that they can walk the aisles to use the bathroom or only within certain times.