The best tips for tantrum-free travel with young kids

June 24, 2016

Do you remember your younger years, when you'd be on a plane and another passenger's child would erupt into hysterical wails? It used to be a point of frustration for you as a child-free passenger. But now you're one of those parents with young kids, and you just booked a flight for your next vacation. The tables have turned - now you're in the shoes of those parents and you're nervous. The first plane ride is intimidating for anyone - especially young children. Don't fret! If you're properly prepared, your child's first flight will actually be fun and go off with zero turbulence.

Check out these five tips for tantrum-free travel with your young ones:

1. Choose your travel time wisely
You know your child best, so consider what time of day they are least fussy and schedule your flight around then, suggests CBC. If your child isn't a morning person, it's best to avoid an early flight.

2. Pack up some arts and crafts in your carry on
Keep your kids occupied with a carry-on full of their favorite arts and crafts. Grab a pack of markers, crayons or colored pencils and their favorite coloring book - or just a blank notebook for the little artist that loves to color outside the lines.

"Security friendly and perfectly portable."

The Huffington Post also recommends packing some Play-Doh. It's security friendly and perfectly portable. This will also be a good one to have on hand during take-off and landings, as these tend to be scary part of the trip for young children. But the Play-Doh will be there to distract them, and give them - and you - something soft to squeeze in case of turbulence.

3. Pick out a new activity
Certified parenting coach Terry Carson explains to CBC that you should pack an activity that your children have never done before so they are excited and engaged with that throughout the flight instead of focusing on anxiety from flying in the sky. Just be sure to steer clear of activities with small parts, otherwise you and the flight attendant could be left cleaning up the mess at the end of the flight.

Be sure to explain to your child what to expect!Be sure to explain to your child what to expect!

4. Grab a book on tape or movie
If your child is too young to read on his own, a book on tape acts as a great distraction and makes the time go by quickly! Pick a new book so they are more captivated by the story. Or pick an old favorite movie that you know will keep them occupied.

5. Pack a reward for good behavior
Traveling can be hard so before you go, explain to your kids what the experience will be like. Do so with a positive manner so as not to scare them. But also promise them a reward if they behave on the flight. This might be harder for infant travelers, but you can still pack them a treat that will keep them happy if they start to get squirmy. 

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