When you both made the decision to start a family, you knew that you would probably have to put your long-distance gallivanting on the shelf while you focused on the all encompassing task of learning how to become parents. It wasn’t easy, but after five years of raising a clan of your own, you’re finally ready to take your kids for their first trip on an airplane.
However, you’re concerned, and rightfully so, as there are a lot of aspects of air travel that can be unnerving, frightening, and boredom-inducing. So, what steps should be taking to prepare your children for their first flight on a modern jetliner, so that they aren’t shocked or bored by the experience?
The following steps will go a long way to ensuring that this crucial milestone in your families’ travel career is a smooth and successful one…
1) Let them know what is happening, and why
There are many things about the experience of a flight from start to finish that your child might like, or they might find shocking, if they don’t know or understand what is about to happen. Before you even arrive at the airport, read children’s books about flight, or watch age appropriate shows on the subject. At the airport and on the plane, explain each step of the experience, from security (they help keep the planes safe from the bad guys), to takeoff (we’re about to speed off in our sports car/blast off into space), to pressure changes (don’t worry, just chew this gum and it’ll be alright), and more.
2) Bring familiar comfort items
Being in such a foreign environment, your child may feel uncomfortable, despite your attempts to explain everything that is going on. By bringing a favourite stuffed animal, blanket, etc., they will have something that reminds them of home to keep them company as you fly the friendly skies.
3) Ensure your flight has on-board entertainment options (and if not, bring games and toys)
While many airlines these days have on-board entertainment options built into the back of seats to keep passengers (adults and kids alike), the rise of budget carriers these days means that some planes won’t have these time-killing diversions within easy reach. If you are booking a flight on one of these airlines to stretch your limited family budget, then make certain that you bring toys, games, and even DVD players that will pass the time between home and your holiday destination.