Getting Your Kid Ready for Their First Time Flying

by Jack Shaw May 30, 2024

boy looking out the window

You witness your children go through many milestones in their life. You may even have photos of their earliest car ride and first train trip. If you’ve ever been on an airplane before, you know flying is quite an exciting activity to knock off the list.

Some kids are fascinated by soaring through the sky in a big airplane. Their innate curiosity about how flying feels can only be answered through the experience.

It’s natural to be anxious about how the flight will go and whether it will be as magical as the children had imagined. These first-time flying tips will prepare your kid for their upcoming plane trip.

The Prelude to Flying With Kids

The first step of taking a flight is booking the tickets. Consider choosing a vacation destination closer to your city. Longer flights may overwhelm the kids, so keep it to a few hours.

Consider the airport foot traffic and your kid’s energy levels when selecting a departure time. Mornings are perfect since there are fewer crowds. Afternoons are also ideal since it’s just around nap time and they can sleep on the plane.

While this might go without saying, always get seats next to each other. If you get separate ones, there’s no guarantee people will be willing to switch with you. Parents must supervise their children on the plane at all times. Remember this detail and book the right spots.

Tell Them the News

Give your kids the news about their first time flying. Allow them to process the information and let it sink in. Many children will likely be giddy at the thought of riding on an airplane. A select few may have initial fears, especially those who may not be a fan of heights.

Either way, the heads-up can kickstart their mental preparation for the process. Remind them to be on their best behavior. About 51% of global travelers find loud and noisy children older than 4 on the plane unacceptable. But crying little ones are also a part of fling life!

Share Reminders

Apart from airplane etiquette, prepare for the worst during your kid’s first time flying. About 90% of Americans have flown commercially, so they’re more than well-versed in how the process works and possible problems they’ll come across. However, your kid is still new to the experience. Give them an overview of specific scenarios and what they should do when they occur.

Losing Belongings at the Airport

Guard your items or bags at the airport. However, there may be times when something gets left behind or stolen. If your child loses something, let them know they can tell you and you won’t be mad. After all, unkind words can make your kids view themselves negatively in the long run.

You and your child can work together to trace your steps and check the areas you’ve been in. If that fails, you can always check the lost and found section. Some also contact the airport authority for extra help.

Getting Lost and Separated

The airport is quite a busy space, even during downtimes. Your family should stick together at all times. However, sometimes children wander off or you lose track of one another. Call them on their smartphone if they have one. You can also request airport staff to make an announcement on your behalf.

Instruct your child on what to do if you get separated. Train them to memorize your name and cellphone number, and permit them to approach an airport employee to ask for assistance. You can also choose a meeting point in the facility to go to if they get lost.

Experiencing Air Pressure Changes

First-time flying can be fun for kids, but the air pressure changes can knock the wind out of them. Some people also experience airplane ear, which creates a clogged feeling in their ear drums. The discomfort may be unbearable for children. Give your kids the heads-up and some earplugs to combat the pressure.

Your kid should also make different mouth movements like swallowing and yawning since this equalizes the pressure on their ears. Chewing gum and drinking water can also be good exercises while offering distractions.

Bring the Documents and Gear

Younger children will require their own documents, whether you’re flying with kids domestically or internationally. Be sure to bring their birth certificates. Passports and extra ID cards are also crucial.

Some parents recommend getting a child carrier. A small stroller for younger kids can make airport waiting and travel much more convenient. Little ones will also need an airplane safety harness, as the adult belt may be too big.

Ask Them to Prepare Their Carry-On

One task that parents can delegate to older kids for their first time flying is organizing their carry-on baggage. This chore allows them to understand the hard work behind the scenes, and it keeps them busy the night before the trip.

Instruct your children to bring a couple of essentials, like a comfort blanket or stuffed animal. Put them in charge of bringing entertainment gear, too. For example, they can pick two books to read at the airport. You can also suggest a pen and notebook for doodling.

Headphones and an electronic tablet will keep your child occupied. Remind them to bring a portable charger to keep the battery full throughout the journey. Check their bag before leaving to ensure they didn’t forget anything.

Focus on Comfortable Clothing

Airports will likely be cool, so it’s important to find cozy clothing for younger flyers. Dressing in two or three layers ensures they’re comfortable and toasty during waiting and boarding.

Parents can give their children some autonomy to pick their outfits. After all, it is their first time flying. They may have a sweater they want to wear for this special occasion.

Have Snacks Ready

Your kid might get a little hungry during long waits. Prevent tantrums by loading up on snacks. Visit the airport terminals to check out food places for a special treat.

Some parents try to avoid sweets, but sugar can actually be calming since it produces serotonin. Make sure to balance it out with fruits and vegetables for nutritional value.

Help Your Kid Spread Their Wings

Your children may be excited about getting on a plane immediately, but be sure to keep them grounded. Use these first-time flying tips to prepare them before takeoff. Set their expectations and communicate for an ideal experience so their journey is just as memorable as the destination.

Jack Shaw


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