There is nothing worse than being stuck 30,000 feet off the ground in an airplane for hours listening to a screaming child especially if that screaming child is yours! So how can you keep those young children amused and well behaved for those long and short flights? First off, keep your expectations realistic when traveling by plane. No one has a perfect child who is always well behaved. But there are ways to help minimize boredom and fussiness when it comes to your child. Here are some tips to make those plane rides a little easier. Schedule your flight times to coincide with your child's normal sleeping schedule (in other words, the red-eye). Tell your children what to expect, what you expect of them and to respect the other people. Let them know that they can't yell on the plane or kick the backs of other passenger's seats. Explain security procedures, customs and immigration, take-off and landing, baggage claim and claim checks, and so on. Make sure older children know the basics of safety such as not wandering off alone or talking to strangers in the airport. Make sure they know their first and last name, parent's name, phone numbers and address. For smaller children you can write their name on the inside of all their clothes with or sew in a name label. This will help if they get lost and forget their last name. Allow yourself plenty of time at the airport so you are not rushed. The stress of rushing through the airport may be carried onto the plane as well by both parents and children. Non-stop flights are not always the best idea with children especially long ones. An hour or so break in an airport in the middle of a long journey can actually be a good idea. Pack coloring books and pens, books to read and to be read to, cards, dolls, stickers, toys, and stuffed animals. Segregate them into sealable plastic bags and only allow one activity at a time per child. Avoid any toys that make noise, Play-doh or anything sticky, balls and other round objects, Legos and other toys made up of little bitty objects and board games with small pieces. Keep your kids well fed so they don't get cranky. Many adults frown upon airline food so you can only imagine how your picky child might react to it. Bring your own supplies of sandwiches, fruit, and snacks in sealable plastic bags. Bring along a pillow, small blanket and favorite stuffed toy. If your child is comfortable they will be more likely to take a nap and sometimes airplanes can be cold. Make sure you have what you need for emergencies and problems. Some good things to consider are a sick bag, anti-nausea medications, gum, earache medication, change of clothes, and teething gel and diapers depending on the age of your child. Most airlines will allow car seats on the plane. It's safer for your child and will make them feel like the place is comfortable and familiar even though it's foreign. If all else fails and your child is still unruly just hope that there are other children on board who are worse!
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