In May we headed to Orlando for our first ever family vacation when we went to Walt Disney World – it was also our first time ever on a plane as a family. Tom has flown a few times (being in the air force thats a given), I have flown quite a bit in the past year, McKenzie flew for the first time in April when we went to Destin Florida and the younger 2, Logan and Alyssa had never been on a plane before and we had never been on a plane as a family. Actually this was also the first time that Tom and I were on a plane together too!
To be honest I thought I was prepared with all the electronic gadgets and food to calm any and all fights, whines, tears ect that came our way but I was only 1/2 prepared. I was told by family and friends “don’t worry, you will NEVER see the people on your flight again” if only that were true because on our way there a family behind us was not to happy with my kids who were upset and then guess what…. on the way home they were on the same flight back!!!
So I compiled a few tips to flying with your kids – hopefully this helps you learn from some of the things I did that worked and some of my mistakes!!!
- Let your kids pick out their toys/belonging that they want in their airplane backpack. I thought I would be a “good”mom and pack their bags for them with surprises for the plane ride and a few new toys and that was a BIG mistake- what I should have done was had them picked out 2-3 things they wanted to bring with them and the DS games they wanted and then added a few surprises. Then they would have had the things they wanted and a few other things as well.
- Let your kids pick out their snacks – Again I thought I would be the “good” mom and pack snacks in the kids backpacks and surprise them with a few packs of fruit snacks and some other goodies and in the mist of being exhausted I put the “boy” fruit snacks in Alyssa’s backpack and she cried like crazy on the plane. Letting them pick out the snacks they like will make for them knowing what they have in their bags and that they want it because they are the ones who picked it out.
- Have your kids sleep in their clothes the night before! So I did what I normally do and had the kids sleep in pjs and then planned on having them change into clothes at the air port (normally if we are leaving for somewhere in the morning and it is crazy early I have them change when we get where we are going because they normally sleep in the car). BIG mistake on this one – changing 3 kids from their pjs while they are still tired is not a very good way to get a good start on your trip.
- If you are leaving early in the morning don’t expect them to eat a lot. We went to the McDonalds next to our terminal when we were leaving but because they were so excited they barely ate a thing. I could have saved myself about $20 had I not planned on them eating the same amount they normally do
- Give them each their own bags. While it may be a huge hassle especially when they are asking you to help them carry their stuff it makes things on the plane so much easier. They are able to have the stuff they want with them, they know what they have and the know where in their bags they put it. It also makes it so you are not having to pass things to them and they can have all their stuff with them when on the plane.
- Don’t expect them to sit perfectly on the plane. They are kids after all and even adults get bored having to wait for things like the plane to take off so when the kids get restless remember that they are kids and have more energy then we adults do built up in their tiny little bodies.
- When the things get a bit tough on your nerves pull out what you need to do and don’t feel bad about it. While you might not give your kids fruit snacks at 7am at home when you are on an airplane sitting and they are getting restless don’t be afraid to pull them out. It won’t make you a bad parent for giving them things they are not normally allowed to have like fruit snacks in the morning when you are traveling.
When traveling remember that everyone is going to be tired and stressed out and that includes the kiddos but even while it is stressful use it as time to make memories with your kiddos