flying with two kids - how to stay sane? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-28-2002, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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HELP!!

My dh and I are flying across country with our two boys 4 yrs and almost 2 yrs. I am very nervous about their ability to stay seated and not screaming for several hours on a plane. The flight is a total of six hours with a two hour lay over in between - so between time in the airport and time on the plane it's pretty much going to be an all day event.

My 4 yr old is a high, high energy spirited child any suggestions for what I can do with him on the plane that will be entertaining and maybe even release some energy without bugging everyone else on the plane?

How about the 2 yr old, he is more mellow, so I'm a bit less worried, but he still will get bored I'm sure.

I know you creative and smart mamas will have some good ideas, so let's here them!
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Old 03-28-2002, 12:07 PM
 
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Here's what I did when I flew with my girls-I went to the dollar store and filled a bag with snacks,toys,coloring stuff,hid it,and pulled stuff out one by one on the plane.It worked!! Or,some other idea's are: For your older child-buy him a disposable camera and get him to "document" your flight -He can take pictures of outside and inside the plane,or get him a story on tape to listen to in a walkman.Maybe the younger one can have a scrapbook to draw pictures of your trip to go along with the older one's pictures.They can do it as a project together.Good luck!Hope this helps.
PS Dont forget the gum or hard candy to suck on for their ears.
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Old 03-28-2002, 12:25 PM
 
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They don't have to stay sitting the whole time! It would actually be a good idea to let them walk around the plane. I guess there is no chance of being allowed to see the cockpit anymore. I'd suggest restricting sugary snacks, but fruit and stuff I would think would be okay. Going to the washroom is always an adventure!
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Old 03-28-2002, 03:34 PM
 
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hey dotcommama!

we're flying cross country too! Except without the benefit of dh!!!

Admittedly my dd is a bit more reserved than T, lol! my worry is how to keep the baby happy, and i'm sure walking up and down the aisles will be it! where ya going? My friend is preggo and i'm hoping to be present at her birth at the end of april, she lives in new mexico. Good luck with yer flight!

Sue

mother of invention, currently raising hell with four great kids, dd, 15, ds, 15, ds, 11 and ds, 8. also gestating a new wee one! due 9/29 whistling.gif

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Old 03-28-2002, 04:54 PM
 
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Ditto what Saige said plus talk to them about it a lot for a week ahead of time. Talk about how it is important to stay seated when the sign says so and about how a plane is a quiet environment... I just did this w/ dd (2mths) and ds (2 yo). The biggest hit were new books and a big coloring pad and crayons. They both did pretty well.
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Old 03-29-2002, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks gals!

(Bookworm - we are headed out to visit the in-laws in AZ for a week).

I love the dollar store idea - we have a great one close by and your right that it will keep there interest more if there are new things to look at.

The camera idea is cool too - I bet he would be facinated by being able to take pictures. I wish we had a polaroid so he could see his results right away! Actually didn't they once make a disposable polaroid? I'll have to look into it.

Coloring books and crayons will be good too, especially for my youngest who is more into calm activities.

I also didn't realize that they would let you just walk up and down the aisle. I haven't flown in so long - I guess I just forgot. So thank you for reminding me - I know that will help my energetic ds.

Thanks so much and anyone else with more ideas please let me hear them!
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Old 03-30-2002, 03:59 PM
 
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Make sure that they have something to help them pop their ears during take off and landing -- such as a box of juice to drink. Your older child might be able to chew gum. This is the key to a happy flight with kids.

Bring healthy snacks. They don't serve much food on airplanes these days, and if your first flight is dealyed you might not be able to get anything to eat during your layover. Make sure you bring everything you need -- spoons, napkins etc.

If your younger child is in diapers, change him at the gate right before you board and you might be able to avoid changing him on the plane. BTW, I don't think that preboarding is all it is cracked up to be. Who wants to spend an extra 20 minutes on the plane with little kids????

Read them a book about flying. We have a really simply one by Byron Barton called Airport or Airplane or something like that. Don't count of being able to read to both of your kids at the same time on the plane, though, it is much noiser on airplanes than I ever noticed before I tried reading alound to two kids!

Since your DH is traveling with you, you can trade off the kids. You help keep the more difficult child amuzed for a while, and then switch so that you can have a break with the easier child. This seems to keep everybody fresh and break up the time.

Sticker books are great, mellow activity. My kids like the Sticker story books. A box of crayons and a new coloring book is always nice too. I don't let my kids have coloring books at home because I think it is better for them to draw on blank paper. The cool part is now my kids think coloring books are a hugh treat, saved for things like flying and family emergencies.

If your 4 year old can use a walkman, he could listen to books on tape on the flight.

I would try, really hard, to relax and have faith in your kids. Airplanes and flying are very cool and interesting. Keeping talking to them about where you are going and why, and show them the maps in the airplane mags. Your kids can understand a great deal about what is going on and most likely while enjoy talking about it.

Also, the airport is a great place to burn off a little energy before and between the flights. It is a lot of fun to hang out at the gate watch the planes land, the bagage get loaded etc.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-31-2002, 09:11 PM
 
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i too have to fly (from CA to CT) this week. i will be flying home for a funeral with ds. dh cant come

ds is 16mnths and i am really dreading this. i am not sure what to do. partly bc he is so hard to please lately anyway, and partly bc nothiong but water-play keeps him occupied for more than 10-15mins. coloring books arent going to do it. i am really gearing myself up for an awful flight. i know i shouldnt do that. its a non stop flight, which i think is worse bc there is no break. no where to run around. please please re-asure me that it will be ok...

(oh, and do you think theyll let you take pictures still?)
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Old 04-01-2002, 03:09 PM
 
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The good thing about preboarding is that you can take over the bulk head and arrange all your gear. Usually nobody wants to sit by you and you end up getting that area all to yourself. When I traveled TX - CA when ds was 14 mths old, we brought lots of healthy snacks, fruit, board books, and a couple of toys. He mostly slept anyway.
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Old 04-01-2002, 08:49 PM
 
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Fishy, Just remember that no matter how bad it is, it is only a few hours and then it is over

A direct flight is ALWAYS better. No matter what you do to try to make connecting easy, it is a pain to get from one spot in an airport to another spot in an airport with a child (OR 2), carry-ons, car seat (?) etc. Transfers make the whole trip longer and more stressful. We always try to use our transfer time to our best advantage, but I would take a direct flight over a connection if I had the choice (esp. with kids). We've even gone so far as drive several hours to a different airport so we could have a direct flight.

The dollar store idea is a great one for you because your DS get bored fast. to make it even more exciting, you could wrap the new toys in tissue paper so that he gets to unwrap them, which is fun and take a couple of minutes. A hand puppet might be a fun plane toy, or, if he's never seen one, a jack in the box. And like someone else said, walk up and down the aisles.
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Old 04-02-2002, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You ladies have such good ideas!

(((fishy))) sounds tough! You'll make it though. If your little guy is the type who falls asleep in the car on long car trips you might be in luck and he might sleep for a good chunk of time on the plane. That's what I'm hoping for my youngest!
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Old 04-02-2002, 01:08 PM
 
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thanks all for the advice.

dotcommama: i didnt mean to steal the thread, im sorry! and good luck on your trip.

i have been trying to create positive energy around this flight. i do think that it has a lot to do with it and aidan always picks up on my anxiety. if im excited about it and not nervous, he will be too. that, and ive borrowed some new toys from friends and ive hid some toys over the last week so that when i bring them out on the plane, they will be like new.

thanks again all of you
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Old 04-02-2002, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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fishy - no problem - I was hoping the thread would be helpful to others who had to fly with little ones.

Good luck on your flight!

L
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Old 04-02-2002, 06:35 PM
 
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dotcommama,
where in CT are you? thats where im headed.
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Old 04-02-2002, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Southbury - what town are you going to?
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Old 04-02-2002, 06:39 PM
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I flew by myself with my 2 yo. and my 4 yo. while pregnant with my newbie from PA to CA. I would make sure you get seat assignments in the bulkhead -- don't leave it up to chance. There was just enough extra room for the kids to play around at my feet and get out of their seats. I too use the dollar store treat trick. Crayola makes these great markers that only color on special paper. Expensive but worth it as a treat for travelling and restaurants etc.

My kids are also very receptive to relaxing herbs such as lavender and chamomile which I use in the form of essential oils. Just kinda takes the edge off. This is awful to admit, but I carried Benedryl with me to use as a sedative. Thankfully they didn't need it. Somehow they understood that Mommy needed them to be good helpers and good listeners.

Good luch & enjoy your trip!
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Old 04-02-2002, 06:58 PM
 
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For the second time alone with ds who is 19 months here is what we experienced:

No one helped us beyond security. I carried very tall - 3 ft - ds in the sling in the front with the carseat in one hand and our backpack in the other. We were unable to leave anything at the gate to run to the restroom. So we preboarded and did all our business, diaper change, mommy pit stop, settling in on the plane. We did not have bulkhead seats on the way but American has more room between rows so ds could stand and look out the window.

I brought new small trucks, books and a travel magnadoodle(but saved it and a firetruck for our return trip-very helpful at the end) and lots of familiar snacks. The airline had us pick up snack bags on the way into the plane - like I didn't already have enough to carry - and since ds had a seat we took a bag for him and I ate it because he eats a very small range of foods.

Our flight was delayed on the tarmac for take off so I let him out of his seat. He cried whenever he had to get back into his carseat but was ok once he was strapped in and on to the next activity.

Our return experience could have been miserable. Before I even spoke to the ticket agent in Chicago she ripped me a new backside for slamming my ticket onto the counter. ds was melting down in the sling because the line was so slow - not enough ticket agents on a Friday afternoon - I was so shocked I said I hadn;t slammed it down and she said if I was going to give her an attitude that we could just stop right now. I shut up and finished her as quickly as I could because my ds is my priority, not being right with some agent who ate bugs for breakfast!

We stood behind a moslem family in the security line, our flight was delayed and I though it was gonna get worse but I found an unused gate where I could wedge all our gear around the seats and walls so my ds could play and climb and look out the window as they serviced the planes.. He loves all the Byron Barton books so he was really into the scene.

On the plane they kept the seatbelt sign on for no apparent reason; I suspect crowd control. So I finally asked if I could take dh out of his seat to nurse because he had been asking, pleading, begging for his "drink" forever. They said as long as I kept him in my arms.

I may not fly American next time although the extra space is great. If you can plan for most of the above mentioned scenarios and then just ride the wave, you'll make it and your wee one will too!

Bon Voyage!
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