Have you ever been in a situation where you're sitting behind someone on the airplane who has a very low tolerance level? Have you ever been on a flight with your toddler who refuses to take a nap because he's super excited about flying and can't keep his tiny little feet off the back of the chair of the person sitting infront of you? Better yet, have you ever been on a flight where the person sitting infront of you reprimands your child for touching the back of his chair? well I can't remember flying before having kids and being the person sitting in the chair that is being kicked but I do remember being the mother trying to make it through the three hour flight with the excited toddler.
I try to look at this from different perspectives. I do understand that people want to be able to fly in peace. I understand that sometimes people are tired from a long trip, anxious about flying, might not be feeling well or simply pensive and want the time to just exhale and be in the moment. I also understand, first hand, as a mom that I am just trying to make it through the flight and get to my destination with both kids, safe and in one piece!
Children get excited, they sometimes are wired and can't sleep on the flight. Sometimes their little ears hurt from the air pressure and they don't know how to express themselves. Children sometimes feel anxious and restricted and simply want to "get out" of the airplane. We must exercise patience and show compassion.
Some tips and tricks that I use when flying are:
1. Pack a bag pack with items from the dollar store/target that your kids have never seen before (playdough, crayons, plastic animals etc). This works well to keep them busy and engaged but it also means that they have to use the tray table on the back of the seat of the person in front of you.
2. Screen time!! I try to save screen time for occasions like these. You may need internet connection though. So I save their favorite videos from Youtube and look for other games and videos that do not require the internet. Add some kid safe headphones and bam you're on your way to victory!
3. Another trick I used in the past when my kids were younger was to keep them awake until it was time to board. I also used a baby carrier and rocked them to sleep and kept them in this position with my seat belt on for the duration of the flight. Breastfeeding during the flight works like a charm!
4. To give the kids a different view and position, I would take each of them to the restroom one at a time. In this way they got out of their seats and stretched their tiny legs a bit.
5. Snacks! snacks! snacks!. I save bubble gum as an extra special treat for flights.
Sometimes one or a combination of all of these things work and other times its a total disaster! At the end of the day all that matters is that we get to our destination safely.