Survival guide for flying with children

Kid looking out airplane window

If the thought of flying with children in the most busy and stressful holiday season raises your blood pressure, you are not alone. In survey after survey, airline passengers say kids – especially the misbehaving, seat-kicking kind – are their top annoyance.

Along with some young kids who are uncomfortable with ear popping or motion sickness, it’s also the added stress of their parents worrying about the amount of planning that goes into a flight during these times of heightened stress.

Daniel Bagner, a psychology professor in the Center for Children and Families and director of the Early Childhood Behavior Lab, says everyone – parents, kids and other passengers – must file a flight plan.

“The old adage from the Boy Scouts – ‘Be Prepared’ – rings true,” he says. “Parents should plan for ways to keep their children confined to a seat for what may seem like an eternity.”

Parents have a big role to play in reducing bad behavior by bringing enough food, a change of clothes and entertainment for their children to last until they reach their destination.

For fellow passengers, the plan involves mental preparation, as well as avoiding “snide or rude comments” to parents whose kids are out of control. The result is confrontations waiting to happen, which is never a good thing.

Overall, the steps towards having a smooth and stress-free flight is to be prepared, take a deep breath, and keep the kids entertained.

Read the full article for more tips on flying with children on USA Today.