Surviving Flights With Kids

How do you survive air travel with kids?

Question:

Pack a carry-on bag filled with crayons, colored markers, a notebook or paper, toys, kids' magazines, books and puzzles. If you can, buy brand new reading materials, dot-to-dot books or fun arts and crafts items. Wrap them up as if they are birthday presents. When your kids put on their seatbelts, bring out the goodies.

Pack bags of goldfish crackers, fruit, sandwiches and water, since kids usually don't like airplane fare. You can also call (at least 24 hours in advance) for a special kids' meal.

When traveling with an infant or small child, help lessen the discomfort of pressure changes by clearing their ears upon take-off and landing. Give them a bottle, breast-feed, or use an eyedropper to put drops of sugar water in their mouth to make them swallow. Constant swallowing helps clear the ears. For older children, give them gum to chew at take off and landing. They'll love you for it!

Allow time for things to go wrong. A twenty-minute flight connection with kids in tow is asking for chaos -- an emergency potty stop could make you miss a connection. Avoid layovers whenever possible.

Get your seat assignments when you make your plane reservations, then call a week in advance to confirm them. Occasionally airlines switch planes for flights and seating configurations can change or be canceled. Never wait until you get to the check-in counter at the airport to make sure you'll be sitting with your kids.

Take your kids to the bathroom before you board the plane and again thirty minutes before landing, and -- last but not least -- pack your patience.

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