My family lives 3,000 miles away. If you are like me, having family that far and children to raise..well, you can get where I am going with this. We are a jet-setting family. Now, it’s not for the faint of heart (as many adventures are with children…) but let’s get through this together. Flying with children doesn’t have to be terrifying. Here are a few things to help you manage with the time you have until your next flight.
When to Pack
Now, this seems like a silly “to do”, but when you are packing for a family it really comes down to the “when” of packing. My recommendation: pack at least one week ahead of time. This will help in so many ways, including
- Your travel clothes will remain out of sight, out of mind keeping them clean and ready for your travels
- You won’t forget items you need if you go over the packing list a few times because you can continue to add up until that last minute
- You aren’t stressed the night before traveling, and not sleeping because you are worried you may miss something.
Trust me, this will save you time, energy and sanity in your travels to plan ahead. Now…what do you pack?
What to Pack for Babies
I’ve traveled with my oldest since he was 3 months old. I’ve nursed both boys, so that’s been EXTREMELY helpful on flights. When they are super tired, nurse babies to sleep and wear them in a ring sling (I love my Maya wrap) for extra comfort and less “dead arms” :). For the formula fed babies, or those who just don’t nurse well with lots of activity around them, packing just the formula in a handy cup to mix with water on the plane saves a little space in your travel bag. Lots of snacks are a MUST for babies who can have them, as well as a few favorite toys and when all else fails, ask for a window seat.
What to Pack for Toddlers
I learned recently that having activities segmented into small time frames that your child can handle is the most effective way to plan for toddler entertainment. So, my 3 year old can stay with one activity that he really enjoys for 10 – 20 minutes. This can include watercoloring, playing cards, tracing (a NEW skill I look forward to using on this upcoming flight!) and markers. Plan for the time frame that your child works best in and you can break down your flights. These 20 minute segments on a three hour flight add up to 9 “slots” you have to fill. A snack, three or four little games and activities, plus an hour and a half movie on a tablet, you are in business!
How to Dress, for Yourself and Them
As most know, airlines overbook flights to ensure they always have full planes of whomever wants to fly…which includes our little ones! That being said, being comfortable on a long flight is a MUST!
When you fly, you want to make sure you have the following:
- A change of clothing for each child
- A change of clothing, or at least a shirt for yourself. Trust me…
- Comfy shoes that are easy to take off for security, but able to walk long distances in the airport terminal. I love Sketchers Memory Foam shoes. Joke if you may, but they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had!
The Kindness of Strangers
Take a look at my village post from earlier this month…I really, truly believe that our village mentality is starting to fade. Those who are aware of this mentality seem to find me on travel days. Seek out the help of others when you need it. Strangers have held my baby on the plane while I handled my toddler or vice-a-versa. Other travelers have bought me beverages, sat with me specifically to help while we flew and helped me get off the plane.
Be proud, be bold, but be humble and accept help when you need it.
How do you travel with your kiddos? I’d love to hear!