Flying with kids is something new parents get stressed about, probably because not that long ago they were the young, single, or newlywed couple on the plane wishing kids weren’t even allowed on board. Once you get over the fact that you will be judged, no matter what, just relax and try to make it as easy as possible – on the child, as well as on the rest of the cabin. Traveling with your kids is worth it.
My daughter is 8 and has been on 51 flights. To be honest, she’s been a dream to travel with, and I probably can’t take much credit. When she was a baby I kept her quiet and happy by breastfeeding her, and as she got older she was just into flying. Chill and excited at the same time. We always talked about behavior expectations before each flight, and I looked for connections with at least a couple of hours layover so she could run around and get the wiggles out before boarding. Teach your toddler burpees – I’m not joking.
Here’s another terrific article on Traveling with Babies and Toddlers.
Once she was buckled in, she never tried to unbuckle and climb around. She never had any issues with her ears, and even now we check in during takeoff and wiggle our jaws to start a yawn which opens our Eustachian tubes. We do it every time we start to feel the pressure adjust. When she was little, I always brought activities and snacks to keep her occupied. Now it’s even easier, she packs a few chapter books and downloads some of her favorite Netflix shows.
Become a Trusted Traveler
One of the best things I did to simplify travel was apply for our Trusted Traveler Status. With Nexus cards we go into the TSA Precheck line at over 180 participating U.S. airports. With TSA Precheck, you don’t have to remove your shoes, belts and light outerwear, you can leave your laptop and clear zip-top bags of liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage.
Make sure you always enter your trusted traveler number when making your reservation, otherwise TSA Precheck won’t show up on your boarding card.
Helpful Links for Flying With Kids
Here are some links to the TSA and major airline sites that will answer most of your questions about flying with kids.
TSA – Traveling with Children – this page goes over Children with Medical Conditions, Disabilities, or Mobility Aids, traveling with Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice, Screening of Children’s Items, Screening Technology, and Screening your Child.
United Airlines – Traveling with children