EP35 – Preparing To Fly With Kids

There's a lot more to preparing for a trip besides packing clothes and toys. Do you dread flying with your kids? Do you dread seeing other kids on what you hoped would be a nice, quiet flight? Here is the trick behind those "good kids" you see on trips. It's no accident!

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Hello and welcome back to, I don't know Jack about parenting where today I'm going to talk about traveling on an airplane with a little one.

It worked for us

Hey, welcome back to this episode of. I don't know Jack about parenting where I want to talk about traveling on airplanes with infants, toddlers, or even a little bit older children. I'll tell you that I have a little bit of experience with this as I used to. My wife and I. It's kind of funny and comical now, but we used to have a long distance relationship and then we got married and we still had a long distance relationship where we. One of us was on a flight every week to visit the other one and uh, once I, I worked in one state, she worked in another, it worked for us, but once the baby came he was with one of us and whether it was with me or with her, we, he was on an airplane, a going back and forth quite often. So in the first year of his life he was on over 40 flights and a, it's a lot of flying for a little guy, but more importantly, it's a lot of patience on our part and we learned a few tricks along the way and uh, we still fly often, not as often as we used to.

And, and I just want to share in this video, um, and the reason I want to share in this video or on this podcast or whichever way you're listening to it, I don't know Jack about parenting, but I do know a little bit about traveling on an airplane with little one on the number. One thing that I think is most important is I don't care what age they are, is talking to your children or child about the experience they're about to have. And you can say, well, I'm going to talk to a four month old about getting on an airplane. This is more about you feeling comfortable talking to your child because we get caught up in, uh, the kid can understand, uh, why am I even having this discussion? But I want you to know that your voice, your tonality is comforting to your child, is the voice that they know most. So whether it's you, mom or you dad, whomever is listening to this, when you get on that airplane, I often see other parents cradled in her kid, just go, be quiet. Don't talk and this nervous energy about them. The baby may not understand, but the baby understands your energy. 

Just talk to your child

And if you don't practice talking to your child before you get to an airplane or before you get out in public, you get nervous about how your child going to ask your child's gonna. Act according to how your acting and if you're nervous and upset or uncomfortable, I almost guarantee that your child is going to be nervous, upset, and uncomfortable, so first, prepare yourself to be able to just talk to your child because when the child is getting in a plane or getting in a car to get to an airport, waiting in line to check bags, where do you get another line to get through? TSA, mom and dad taken all their clothes off and stuff, putting it in beds. Hundreds if not thousands of people surrounding them. Kids looking around. This is not normal. They could get uncomfortable.

Then once you get there, you get no, no. Parents typically get to get on the airplane first, so now they're in this too and they have to be sat in a car seat and they know what a car seat means, but the car's not moving yet. They don't get that vibration. All of this is different, but if you could speak to them along the way is, hey sweetie, hey honey, we're going through this long line at Tsa and it's really an adventure and you act like it's an adventure and what happens here is mom and dad's gotta. We have to take off all of our jewelry or watches are built. I even get to take off my shoes, but you don't, and as you're taking it all off, you do it, and then this nice security guys got to let us walk through this machine and we got to put your stroller in. It's going to get to go through the conveyor belt and they're gonna. Look at the insides of it. It's really cool. Now, this may sound ridiculous, but I'm telling you, you distracted your child with the comfort of your voice is going to bring comfort to them. Now, I'm going to share a story with you.

I need you to do me a big favor

When my son was probably about six or seven months old where I had gone through all that, I was traveling on my own. This time my wife was not with me and he's in his little carrier. I have my backpack and in his, in his car seat and I'm lifting them up like this. So he's face to face, eye to eye. And I'm saying, Hey Cristian, I need you to do me a big favor today. This is a full airplane and there's a lot of people on it and it's really early in the morning so everybody here is tired and I want you to know that everybody on this airplane is going to be uncomfortable because nobody wants to be flying through the air in a tube across this guy for two hours. And they certainly don't want to do it with a baby screaming. So what daddy's asking you to do today is to be really quiet. Or if you are making any kind of sounds, let them be laughter. And I'm talking to him and I sit them down and I settled him down in his seat and I strap him in and I'm continuing to have a conversation with them. And a woman across the aisle says to me, and this is in one of my book, this is in my book, be the dad you wish you had.

By the way, this is one of the chapters in the book is speak to them as if they understand now, so that when you don't know when they're going to understand, even now, my wife just yesterday says to me, uh, we, we have the 16 month old, and he was missing a sock and she says to him, where's your sock? And he went into the other room where he pulled off his socks. He came back with a sock and she goes, I didn't know he understood sock yet. I said, he understands a lot of things right now because we talked to them about socks. We talked to him about his clothes. We talked about his hands in his nose and his mouth in his head and all these things. And he understands. So we, we can't anticipate when they're going to pick up on these things. It's our job to talk to them. So as I was talking to him, this woman decided to share with me, you know, he doesn't understand what you're saying, and I said, well, you're right. He may not understand what I'm saying. I said, and I appreciate what you have to say.

It wasn't my first Rodeo

They're your perspective. However I'm doing this for everybody on the airplane. He knows my voice. He knows my tonality. He's very comfortable with me speaking and I'm soothing him right right now because he's paying attention to the person who talks to him every single day and he's doing it with intent because I'm engaging with him. I said, so I think I hear where you're coming from. However, I'm not doing it for him to understand today. I'm doing it so that you guys are all not distracted and, and I'm pretty sure because it wasn't my first Rodeo at this point. I'm pretty sure everybody on this plane is going to be much more grateful at the end of this plane because I know many of you are watching a dad walked down the aisle. I know many of you are thinking to yourselves, oh, is going to be a train wreck, did not going to be able to handle that, but I guarantee you at the end of this flight, when he's been perfectly quiet, you're not going to give credit to his father.

Listen what I'm saying here, and for all of you listening, you want to take the credit for your kid being well behaved because you've done what's necessary in order for that child to behave. They're going to say, that's such a good baby and I'm going to tell you right now, there are good babies because there are good parents. It is no accident that my child was quiet throughout that flight, but that was the prep. So talk to them. Number two thing you must do is have a bottle ready for ascending and descending. Reason being, if you've ever been on an airplane, your ears pop when you are going up high altitudes quickly, uh, for a child. There's two things that they're fearful of at birth, loud noises and falling. They're fearful of the, the, the feeling of falling and they're fearful of loud noises. And if you've ever popped your own ears after a while, it goes from, you know, the pressure you don't hear, and then boom, really quick, everything's loud again.

It's usually a two, three hour process

For a child that could be startling, which could turn into an episode of them screaming and when they're in a car seat and you're ascending a, you cannot take them out of the car seat for safety purposes and comfort them. So the best thing to do is make sure that that is their feeding time or even if it's not feeding time, that they get that bottle in that moment. If you're a wise, which we always had early morning flights because by the time you wake them up, get them ready, get out of the house, get to the airport, get through all those lines I just talked about in the airplane, takes off. It's usually a two, three hour process. And because they're hit with so many different things, they're mentally exhausted, meaning they can take a nap, plus the soothing sound of the engines and everything that goes on with that. I think it's just optimal sleep time. So have them drinking their bottle and taking off. If you're lucky, you'll get through most of the flight with a really good nap. If it's a shorter flight, if you're not, have snacks, cookies, uh, the yogurt bites, lunchables, whatever you get for them, make sure they have their favorite snacks.

Make sure there's a teddy something that comforts them if you don't already have one. And lastly, just have some toys to distract them. Again on descend. You want to also make sure that they have a bottle and after that it's talking to them throughout the flight. Hey, are you having a good time? How cool is, do you want to look out the window? Daddy loves to look out the window. Some people like the ILC, you wanna know why people like the LLC because they have a bladder problem. You young man, you have a bladder problem, daddy changes 10 diapers day still and you probably should be on the aisle, but you're not allowed to be on the owl because you would block the aisle if there was an emergency. So that's why we have you by the window, but enjoy the window because it's the coolest thing you'll ever see. It's not everyday you get to be 30,000 feet in the air, completely safe to check all this stuff out. Right? Having those conversations. Just talking about the flight and some people, you know, some people would sit there and say, some people would say, Oh man, this guy talked all the way throughout the flight.

Set expectations

I imagine most people would enjoy listening to you talk and comfort your child. Then your child's screaming while you're nervously trying to settle the child. And this all goes back to another chapter in the book which is create a schedule, create a routine, and if they are old enough set expectations of hey, you know, in two days we're going to be on an airplane. Airplanes or tubes and not everybody likes being on a plane, just like and maybe a surf. I'm just like, you don't like vegetables. Daddy loves vegetables and I love flying. Do you like, do you like your spinach? No. Will some people just like spinach? I don't like being on the airplane. I love it. I think your going gonna. Love it. I'm so. I'm excited for the adventure and they get all excited about the adventure and you know what? Daddy's going to let you play on his phone or days.

Gonna let you play on the IPAD. Mommy's gonna let you play on the IPAD. It's Kinda like a little getaway. It's like a camping trip, but it's not camping. You're in an airplane. You want to make it fun for them so that when they're like, oh man, I get to play a video game, or wow, I get to play a card game with mom or dad or wow, they brought my favorite magazine, the one I've been wanting to open, but I had an opening yet because I was saving it for the airplane, so I'm excited to get into it and dive into it. You've got to prepare them ahead of time. Those are the simple tips. Talk to your children, prepare a bottle for ascend indecent, talk to your children, have toys, have snacks, and prepare them mentally for a great, great time. We'll talk to you in the next episode. I hope you found this helpful.

Ryan Roy

About the Author

Ryan Roy

Ryan Roy is the father of two boys and on a mission to be the dad he wished he had... and to help other fathers be the best they can be too.

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