We made the trek to Key West, via 2-2 hour flights with 1 small 2 hour layover in between.
There’s a huge phobia concerning surviving a flight with kids, and for good reason. Running through an airport with luggage, having to take off shoes and put them back on, potentially long waits, and in the airplane, confined space, where you can’t move around much, can’t be too loud, and where there are people who might be really disturbed to be sat next to young children.
1. Timing: There is a challenge that goes along with any time you choose to travel. We woke the kids very early to fly out by 6am. Little K was able to catch a nap on the second flight. Little J was very tired by bed time, but they caught up on sleep by day 2.
We’ll leave in the evening on the way home, getting back to our house by 1am. We’ll put the kids in the pjs for the flight home. They will sleep for most of it and we’ll have to huff their sleepy little bodies throught the airport along with our roll on suitcases. This is when NOT checking bags comes in really handy.
2. Dress Code: Wear slip on shoes for easy take off and put on at security. Wear layers just in case the flight is too cold or too warm.
3. Hydrate. The pressure changes and stress of travel can take a toll on your body and phychy. Drinking lots of water can at least elliviate the headache hangover that sometimes accompanies a plane ride.
4. Patience: Realize that during the flight, the chances that the kids will disturb someone are pretty good, and take those “Negative Nelly’s” right off your radar. There’s only so much you can do to keep your kids calm and quiet. Smile and apologize when necessary. If there’s more than one adult, do a switch off when someone runs out of patience.
5. Pack a bag of fun stuff…not too full because you don’t want to be lugging an enourmous bag around the airport, cutting off the circulation in your shoulder while also rushing a toddler to the bathroom. I’ve taken a box of bandaids with us a couple of times and it kept the kids busy for while.
water airplane by Little J
This is what we packed: The boys each brought their comfort toy…for Little K is was his blanket and for Little J, his burpies…1 small backpack and in it, lots of paper back children’s literature because they are thin and light, a couple of little dry erase books that help the boys practice learning their letters, 2 small white pads of paper, a small bag of drawing supplies (crayons and pip squeek markers), Kids’ Cliff Energy bars, applesauce containers in a zip lock bag (that had to be checked in with security,) 2 small bags of playdough with old credit cards for cutting, an alphabet game called Pairs in Pears and a dvd player and educational shows (Sid the Science Kid and Might Machines) that we save for desperate measures.
6. Encourage some Independence: Little J loved to be in charge of his own ticket and small roll on luggage.
7. Pack Light: We tried not to check any bags, packed really light and each had 1 carry on roller bag that fit neatly into the overhead, and 1 backpack that fit nicely under the seat in front of us on the airplane. We didn’t bring a stroller or car seat. We show up to the airport with enough time to make it through security and to our make it to our terminal, while allowing the kids to set the pace.
8. Everyone should try to use the bathroom before and after the flight, washing hands often.
9. Enjoy the take off and landing as its own form of entertainment, look out the window and talk about how you are above the clouds. For us, looking out the window has inpires great conversations about wheather, the earth and about heaven and God.
10. When you get to wherever you’re going, carve out some time to decompress from travel. We sit on the hammocks on the back porch of my folks little vacation home and feel the sun and wind on our face while the boys pretend to fish in the canal with ropes and buckets.