Travelling with kids? Here’s what you need to know

Boarding a flight can be exciting and scary for your little one and a little daunting for you too...

As much as they are a blessing, children can also be distracting to other passengers who are, for instance, reading, working or perhaps trying to take a nap.  They can also be excitable and act out which can cause anxiety for you and other passengers. The truth is, when it comes to kids and aeroplanes, one just never knows what could happen. Whether it’s complaining or joyous exclamation, you have to be there every step of the way, ensuring that your children are calm, out of harm and  out of other passengers’ way.

Here are some tips on how you can try to make your flight a pleasant one for you, your children and other passengers:
  • Keep them occupied. In high anxiety situations, try distracting them by allowing them to play child-friendly games on your phone or watch an animated film on your laptop, smartphone or tablet. Perhaps encourage them to bring along their favourite toy.
  • The infamous ear ache while the aeroplane takes off which can be painful for adults, is especially for kids alike, however children’s ears are much more susceptible to pressure changes. To avoid your kids’ getting sore ears, give them chewing gum or let them suck on a lollipop if they are 3 years old and above. If you’re travelling with a new-born baby, ensure you receive a good pain-relieving medication from your paediatrician.
  • It’s okay to tell a white lie. Kids can get restless easily and what may seem like a two-hour flight to you may seem like a six-hour flight to them. You may be constantly asked the question, “How long until we get there?” If, for example, you’re travelling from Johannesburg and you’re boarding a cheap flight to Cape Town which may seem lengthy to your toddler, telling them you’re “almost there” or “15 minutes away” is totally acceptable.
  • Reward your kids for being good. Tell them, provided they behave well and are quiet, you will reward them with a sweet or a treat at some stage after you land. This ensures they have something to look forward to and will encourage them to be on their best behaviour, knowing they will receive a treat if they do not get up to mischief.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Several airlines charge differently when it comes to kids boarding a flight. When making a domestic flight booking online, ensure you’ve familiarised yourself with all the costs, regulations and information of the flight. Some airlines may require that you pay for infants and others may not. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re paying more money than you should. Try to be cognisant of the costs before you take a flight to avoid unnecessary angst.
Travelling with your kids does not have to be a nerve-wracking experience. Make sure you’re ready for your vacation by packing essential items and keeping your kids distracted as often as possible.

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