In your fantasy, the kids are quiet, calm and take direction like angels, and you sweep through the airport to cheers and admiration. In reality…things are probably going to be a bit more hectic. However, a family vacation does mean you have to take the family, so check and double check to make sure those bag tags are correct and affixed, and read on for tips that will make your kid travel – and you – less crazy.
Keep Them Fed
Most airports don’t allow outside food, but you can check online to see what kind of food retailers are offered past the security check point. Pick a few that offer nutritious options (Subway is a great choice) or check out the gift shop for healthful snacks like trail mix or fruit bowls. It’s best not to load them up with sugar or too much processed junk before a flight.
Let Them Explore a Little Bit
If you’re not running late, then hopefully you have arrived well before your flight is schedule to take off, and you have some time on your hands after you’ve checked baggage and gone through security. Your kids are probably going to be drawn to the escalators – vertical and horizontal – so accompany them for a few rides up and down and side to side to get that out of their system. Remember, the more you deny them, the crabbier they’re likely to get.
Make Friends with Your Seat Neighbors
If you already know your kids are going to be, ahem, challenging, then acknowledge that and address your seatmates directly. A little speech, thanking them in advance for their patience, can go a long way toward making the flight more bearable for everyone. And if you’re really on top of things, you might give out little gift certificates to sweeten everyone’s mood.