How To Keep Your Kids Comfortable In Plane

Discover these effective ways to keep the kids relaxed.

Flying in an airplane can be an exciting experience for some children and a scary one for others. And many parents agree that buckling kids into their seats for long periods of time can cause them to become restless and irritable. How do you keep kids relaxed so they enjoy themselves? These two mothers talk about the methods they use to calm and entertain their children while flying.
Redirect and distract their attention


Amber Ouye-Cavala, a writer and mother of two small children, has family both in France and the United States. She’s been traveling back and forth with them since they were born. “When they were babies, traveling was easy,” she says. “They were unaware of what was really going on. Now that they’re a little older the biggest issue is keeping them strapped into their seats for long periods of time, so I have to redirect and distract them to get their focus away from what’s happening.”

During take-off and landing, she gives them little presents to open. “This keeps them from wanting to get up.” Her children also love stickers. She lets them decorate their seats and surrounding area. “This takes up a good 5 to 10 minutes of time during take-off,” she says, laughing. When landing, the kids become preoccupied with removing their personalized décor.

Bring snacks

To help break up the pressure in their ears, which causes discomfort, she gives them gummy candy and apples to chew on. Snacks in general help distract children too, so Amber packs their favorites and dispenses them during the flight.

Watch in-flight entertainment

Sometimes rough turbulence and bumpy landings can make her daughter anxious. “She’ll hold onto me,” explains Amber. “I tell her we’re safe and everything will be okay. Then I tell her to look at her brother because he’s enjoying the ride.” Watching movies also distracts her daughter during turbulence. “I let the kids watch as many movies as they want. It’s a treat for them. It also keeps them in their seat for hours.”

You can also play with your children to keep them entertained. Check out these 3 travel games for kids here.


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Create a sleep routine

Amber cuts off entertainment when it’s time for the kids to sleep. She says to encourage rest, “We try and take night flights that are the same time as their bedtime. We create a routine of putting on their pajamas in the bathroom.”

Educate before flying

Robin Kelman, a vice president at a communications agency, avid runner and busy mother of four children in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, says her 12-year-old daughter is afraid of flying especially during take-off. She prepares her before the trip by educating her about the safety of plane travel. “I explain to her that more accidents happen in cars than in planes. And that if we worry about all the things that could possibly happen, we’ll miss out on far too much enjoyment in life.”

During take-off and turbulence, Robin helps her child get through it with breathing techniques. “We use it at home to keep her calm when she is getting anxious.” Keeping her occupied with a movie or computer tablet also helps relax her daughter.

What to remember

Take the anxiety out of plane travel by instructing your children about plane safety. The more they understand about it the calmer they’ll be. Aim to redirect and distract their attention with snacks and movies. It also helps to tell your children the butterflies they feel inside are not fear-based but excitement—flying in a plane means taking off on an adventure.

Get more family bonding tips and ideas here to bring your family closer.

Find amazing tips for a successful and happy family life at our blog.

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