We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

gutimom
10 posts
Save Topic
Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

I have never flown with my kids before...and Im a little freaked out over it!

Does anyone have any tips or tricks to make it go smoothly, help the kids have a good time, and not make their ears hurt so bad?

We are flying from Houston to DC

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
597 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

Bring lots of things for the kids to do and play with. Be prepared for a lot of hassle as far as security, etc. and allow yourself TONS of time. Have snacks, drinks, etc. and whatever the kids need to make them feel comfortable (blankets, teddies and so on). Talk to the beforehand about what the experience will be like. Have a candy for them to suck on (at least the older one) when the descent begins. Sucking a pacifier might help the younger one. Yawning will also help equalise ear pressure. Allow yourself TONS of time at every stage. You don't want to be rushed and stressing with two small children! I imagine it is a non-stop flight, so that will remove the biggest hassle, which would be changing planes. Keep your kids close by and under supervision; monitor their behaviour on the aircraft and keep them engaged in activities or looking out the window.

Vancouver...
Level Contributor
7,750 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

isdunch has given great advice. I would stress giving yourself lots of time is the most important, be prepared for things NOT to go smoothly(they won't) and why are you "freaked out over it"?? Isn't that a rather strong emotion? Just do your planning, packing, deep breathing and for goodness sakes forget the "freaked out" part. Leave that for children, not an adult. Chuck...

Ireland
Level Contributor
1,930 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

Also check out the flying with children forum over on www.flyertalk.com

Ridgewood, New...
Destination Expert
for Kiawah Island, Charleston
Level Contributor
8,715 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

Been there and done that!! ;) Here is some advice from a veteran mom ...

As I am sure you know only too well, your kids wil pick up on your mood. If you are stressed, they will be stressed, too. This is another one of those instances where mom's personal comfort and feelings must be put aside for the sake of the kids.

Your biggest problem will be organizing the carry-on gear. Fortunately, each of the three of you is allowed two carry-on bags. Although you will probably end up carrying all of the bags, it is important to have the things that will make the trip comfortable for the kids.

I know you have booked a seat for the five-year-old. Airplane seats are not ergonomically designed for small children. A pillow to lean on will keep him/her comfortable.

Are you planning to hold the younger one on your lap? If so, remember that it gets pretty hot and humid sitting on a parent's lap for three or four hours. A light crib quilt or pillow will separtate the little one from your body heat.

A favored stuffed animal, doll, or action figure will make a nice traveling companion. A small pack of new crayons and some paper will work well on the service trays. Avoid taking toys and games with lots of small parts that can get lost under the seats.

Use the experience to educate your children about the whole process of traveling on an airplane. Let the five year old pack his own carry-on, and discuss the security process with him. Enlist the children's help in listening to the flight attendant's safety message, studying the cabin plan for exits, etc.

The children will feel important, you will end up with seasoned fliers for future flights.

Herefordshire
Level Contributor
533 posts
111 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

I too was worried when we took our children on their first flight last year (27 hours to NZ). Mine are 5 & 8.

I must say that the worry was for nothing! They coped very well with the flight. If its a night flight its very easy because they sleep through most of the flight. We just made sure they had their normal teddy bears to cuddle up too.

The return flight had the pertential to be the most difficult as it was a day flight. We prepared the children well, showing them what the airplane was like from pictures online and explaining how to work the seatback tv's. We told them there would be a few bumps when the wheel went up etc. We also took travel games and books and a few toys, the airline gave them a travel pack each as well. We also spoke to them about how to behave so they were aware that they had to be careful not to kick the seat in front and they needed to check with the person behind before they reclind the seat etc.

One thing that made life even more easy was the fact that families were allowed to board first, this meant we were seated with every stowed away before anybody else started to board. This totally took the stress out of the situation.

The FA's on our flight were very helpful, they were always willing to provide additional snacks for the children in between meals when they got hungary and drinks were offered regualarly throughout the flight.

Try not to stress about it, easier said then done I know,but I'm sure with good preparation you and the children will have a lovely flight.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,142 posts
245 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

Hi gutimom, A new experience with little ones is always bound to cause you a bit of stress. My greatest concern is that one of them will dash away from me and get lost. I put a little travel harness on the grandchildren. I know many people object to seeing a child on a leash, but better that then loosing one in a crowded concourse.

We also take portable DVD players. Your five year old already has his favorite movies, and I am sure that your 20 month old enjoys Little Einsteins or one of the other popular series. The children seldom enjoy whatever movie the airline is featuring, so bringing your own helps keep them entertained. Headphones help them hear their entertainment.

If you have purchased a set for your youngest it will be much more comfortable for both you and your child. Unless your baby is very quiet and passive you will likely arrive at your destination bruised and exhausted. Think about holding that child on your lap in your own living room for three hours. It is tough for both of you.

Recently a two year old child had a temper tanrum on a plane. The FA removed the entire family. The child's mother protested this action, pointing out that the child was just unhappy being strapped into her car seat.. The FA responded: "That is what Benadryl is for". Well....as it turns out, that is not really what Benadryl is for. However, in most children it does make them relaxed and sleepy. I am certainly not suggesting that you drug your children to control their behavior, and I do not want to generate a huge rant about the wisdom of doing it. I am merely saying that some people find this to be effective, and, in our case, it was recommended by the pediatrition.

In my experience most regular passengers have very little patience for the youngest travelers. Often that is because a child kicks the back of the seat in front of them, which can, quite quickly, drive the passenger in front of the child quite mad.

If you want to maintain the goodwill of the plane, it is important to keep them from kicking the seats of the folks in front. To avoid this we always try for bulkhead seating with the grandchildren.

Appearance is the way we first evaluate people. Make sure your children are dressed in very comfortable clothing, but also that the clothing looks good, and try to make that first great impression well before you board the plane.

Your 5 year old is plenty large enough to have his/her own carry-on backpack. I would certainly invest in one for the older child. It is one less thing that you will have to carry and it makes your child feel as if he is really participating in the process.

You should carry snacks and then try to purchase some suitable beverages for the children after you pass through security. Once we could carry our own juice boxes on board, but those days are gone. I reduce liquid spills by transferring whatever the FA gives them (soda or juice) into their own sippy cups so no one tips over a glass of tomato juice on anything important.

I know you are justifiable apprehensive, but you are going to be fine. You will be in DC before you know it. My daughter's philosophy is that five hours on the plane to get across the US, beats four days in the car every single time.

Ridgewood, New...
Destination Expert
for Kiawah Island, Charleston
Level Contributor
8,715 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

There have actually been two instances that I know of when a family was removed from a plane because of a child's behavior.

The "Benadryl" story was disturbing. As I recall the boy was 19-months-old. Although he was very excited, he wasn't having a tantrum. He kept saying "bye, bye, plane" loudly during the boarding and seating process. Although an adult making similar outcries could reasonably be considered a threat, the FA's reaction to remove an excited baby seems like extreme over-reaction.

In another (famous) AirTran case, a three-year-old girl refused to take her seat for take-off. The airplane could not take off until all passengers were seated. She was kicking and screaming, crawling under the seat, and hitting her parents. After 15 minutes of this behavior, and with no sign of improvement, the flight crew made the decision to remove the family in the interest of the other passengers. AirTran gave the family a full refund, put them up for the night, and flew them out on the following day. Although the parents complained to the news media, which gave the story a lot of hype, no one in the public responded with much sympathy for the family.

Anything can happen when traveling with kids. Most passengers are willing to make allowances for children. (After all, many of us have kids, and all of us were children once!) However, parents also have the responsibility to keep in mind the needs of other travelers, and to be flexible enough to allow for the unthinkable!

Kerikeri, New...
Level Contributor
5,883 posts
108 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

People only norally get upset with children when their parents let them run riot on the plane with no control. No-one likes crying kids when trying to sleep/relax but I guess we have to remember we were the same once!

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,142 posts
245 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

I heard this story not too long ago. A two year old was throwing a major fit at a restaurant in Disney World. The father picked the child up and cuddled her and soothed her with ice cream. An older man approached the young father and told him he was impressed with his parenting skills. The father said that it was not the fault of the child. His daughter was on a different schedule. She had awakened in a strange bed. She had missed her nap. She did not like the food. She had been extremely excited and stimulated all morning. So, the father concluded that the fit his daughter was throwing was much more about what they had done to the child rather than their daughter's lack of control.

When I sit in front of a child who kicks my seat for three hours, I try to remember that the poor baby did not ask to by clutched in the arms of his mother on a noisy, boring airplane. On the lap of a parent, a baby has almost no place for his legs and feet and they are going to kick the seat in front of them.

We just need to be a little tolerant and compassionate. We have no idea why a child is flying or what circumstances resulted in the child being on the plane. I truly do not believe there are very many parents who just ignore their babies and let them annoy passengers. It is pretty difficult to control a 24 month old child.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
9,198 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Flying with a 5 year old and 20 month old?

People only norally get upset with children when their parents let them run riot on the plane with no control. No-one likes crying kids when trying to sleep/relax but I guess we have to remember we were the same once!

_________________

Indeed, I am one of those people. I have a lot of respect for parents who know the drill, pick the right seats and have the drill down pat.

The best example of this was when I was on a BA flight a few years ago with a mother with three children boarded. The children were perhaps three, seven (boys) and ten years old (girl). She had picked the middle section of the aircraft and had chosen the last row in the cabin. She was seated in aisle seat with the eldest in the other aisle seat. The younger children occupied the middle seats which were both backward facing and so created a fairly sizeable play area for them. The mother and daughter both kept and eye on the youngsters making sure they were never bored, had PSPs and other games for the children. It was quite a spectacle and operation at the same time and if I hadn't been looking over every now and then I wouldn't have even noticed them there. I was very impressed.

It certainly made up for the somewhat clueless parents I have seen on other flights that make abosolutely no effort to calm their children down on long overnight flights or just let them run rampant in the cabin. Grrrr.