Q: We will soon be flying with our 15 month old to see family but I'm really worried about it - how do I keep my son settled and happy during the flight?
A: Flying with a young child can be a stressful experience if you are not properly prepared. Naturally much depends on the nature of your baby's personality, but there are many things you can do to make the whole experience easier for everyone.
The first thing to bear in mind is the time of the flight. Could you book a flight that coincides with your baby's nap or night sleep? Boarding the plane prior to your baby's usual sleeping routine can be helpful. Many parents report that the noise of the engines alongside the movement of the plane somehow lulls their little ones into a good sleep.
If this is not possible, you are going to need plenty of things to keep your little one amused. A top tip is to pack a 'treasure bag'. If you can, it is worth purchasing a few brand new and exciting toys that your son can discover and investigate during the flight. This should help hold his attention for a good while.
Alternatively, could you sneakily hide some of his favourite toys a few days before the flight? You could then surprise him with them in the treasure bag. The reunion should produce the same results! Most importantly, don't forget to pack his favourite comforter or dummy and include plenty of yummy snacks.
Another very important tip is to offer your child a milk feed or other drink during take-off and landing. The sucking action will prevent his ears from popping during the rest of the flight, which is vitally important in keeping him happy. A dummy will have the same effect, but you must ensure that your son will suck throughout the entire ascent and descent. Bear in mind there are guidelines on taking milk through security, and your airline can advise you of the current requirements.
And don't forget you can of course save yourself a lot of stress and anxiety by leaving for your flight in plenty of time. Finally, rather than worry yourself into the ground, try to relax and take the flight as it comes.
Have you found flying with children stressful or was it easier than you thought? Leave a comment below...