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Holiday Travel Tips when Flying with Kids

Holiday Travel Tips when Flying with Kids

Little Boy Plane

Traveling can be difficult and stressful, especially when considering a special needs child. We want to help you be prepared for holiday travel, so we came up with these tips for flying with your children.

First, prep them by telling them social stories about what’s going to happen on the trip, especially because they have difficulty with transition. For example, say: “We’re going to the airport and then we’ll get on a plane. The plane will take us to grandma’s house and when we get there, we’ll cook dinner with her, we’ll play outside and we’re going to be staying at her house for a few days.”

Also, look at pictures of airplanes online before going to the airport, so they know what to expect.  Explain to them how the airplane will take off and land and it might feel funny.

The time between waiting at the airport and boarding the plan is crucial. Let your child run around and get a lot of energy out of them. Let them push a stroller, travel cart, luggage, or something heavy. Letting them do some heavy work calms their nervous system down, since they have to concentrate. Then they will be better able to sit still for long periods of time on the plane.

Bring some games to play at the airport while waiting, but make sure to save some for the plane ride. More appropriate for the airport is a small ball to roll around. You can play I-Spy with them using real people and objects like terminal numbers or security personnel.

Now, for the actual plane ride. Sometimes children don’t like being buckled in to the airplane seat that they’re not used to. To help this, you can bring a stuffed animal they can put on their lap and buckle in with them. You can also use a timer and put the amount of time take-off might take, so they know when they’ll be able to take off the seatbelt.

During take-off and landing let them play on the iPad – and now with relaxed rules about electronics on planes, you can keep the iPad on throughout your flight – a huge win for parents traveling with little ones. Don’t have a tablet? A sticker book may do the trick. Also bring coloring books and small broken crayons. The broken crayons offer more heavy work for the finger muscles, which equals more concentration and a release of energy.

Some airlines might allow you to bring play dough, which will help keep your kid busy. But check the TSA rules before you pack it.

We hope these tips will help make traveling easier! Enjoy your holiday vacations and leave a comment if you have had a great experience or have a good tip.

 

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