4 Tips for Flying with Kids

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Taking your kids on their first flight? Check out these simple tips for flying with kids to make the whole trip go smoother.

A young girl sits on an airplane and is coloring in her seat.

Flying with kids.

That simple phrase struck fear into this momma’s heart for years after Little Pea’s first flight. Picture this: just shy of 2 years old, full of independence, no seat to call her own because her frugal parents thought she could fly for free.

3 hours of MISERY for everyone on that plane.

We’ve avoided a repeat occurrence like the plague but our recent trip to Disneyland in California absolutely required a flight with the girls to get there. And not just any flight, but a nearly 5 hour one. I lost plenty of sleep over the worry about what we were about to put ourselves through.

I feel like I’ve earned my pilot wings. Not only did we survive the trip, dare I say it was enjoyable?? I’m so excited to share my ninja tricks with you to hopefully help you avoid a flight like Little Pea’s first with your own children!


1. Forget the Gum

Before our flight I remembered both girls complaining about their ears the last time.

I know the traditional solution is bubble gum but at ages 7 and almost 4, I wasn’t sure they would really get the hang of it. We never chew gum here, so it is a foreign concept to them.

Tim thought it would be a special treat for them so we tried. They both spit it out within a minute which did absolutely no good as the plane took off.

The solution?? Jelly beans!!!

They are small enough and gummy enough that you can dole them out one by one to the kids during take-off and landing and they haven’t eaten too much candy.

Fruit snacks or goldfish crackers or any small munchable treat would work equally well.

2. Keeping Hydrated

My girls are big water drinkers and I was really worried about the security line. This trip required too much other stressors, so we took the shortcut by buying water bottles from the shops inside the airport.

But the best thing?? Ours ended up with sports tops so we didn’t have to worry about lost screw-on caps and the airline stewardesses were so kind that they refilled the bottles of water for the girls when the beverage cart came through!

It saved a big spill from their cups and allowed us to tote water with us for the bus ride to the hotel at our destination.

Keeping hydrated is good for parents, too. It will definitely help prevent swollen ankles when flying.

3. Backpack Full of Surprises

I took both girls’ backpacks away the night before our trip and loaded them myself with plenty of surprises for the trip.

Neither girl was allowed to peek inside until we were ON THE PLANE. The suspense nearly killed them! By the time the unveiling happened, they were ecstatic to discover what was in store. I was sure to include:

  • Melissa & Doug On the Go Colorblast books (Perfect because they won’t color on the plane seats or trays!)
  • Traveling lovies
  • Headphones & a headphone splitter for use to watch a movie on my iPad
  • A couple baggies of different kinds of snack mix and the jelly beans mentioned above
  • A chapter book for my reading daughter

4. Remember the Journey

Once they took their peek inside their packs, I absolutely insisted that we couldn’t dig into the activities until the plane was in the air. I wanted my girls to experience the joy of watching the earth fall back as the plane takes off from the awesome view of their window.

We talked a lot about the plane and how it flies and how far we would be going. They may not remember that conversation, but I will.

I want to entertain my children, but not so much that we miss out on the fantastic conversation opportunities that travel brings.

Remember to take time for both!

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