Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Plane travel with kids

We recently returned from a ten day adventure in Ireland and I continue to be amazed that the number one question people ask is "How was the flight?" They don't ask "where did you stay?" Or "what did you see?"  They seem more interested in the details of the six hour flight to Dublin and seven hour flight home.  

Like our fellow passengers, they have a preconceived notion that the flight might be hell.  With five kids, it's no wonder people are curious as how we made it work but really folks, the flying was the easy part.  Anytime my five kids are strapped down is a good time for me -- and  it's even better when the law requires it!

I've written in the past about tips for surviving flights with kids and I have to say, it's easier than you might think.  For starters, it's a novelty and an adventure.  If you happen to be two, or four, or six, as our kids are, flying is fun.  I don't know about your kids, but when ours are having fun, they are an absolute delight to be around. They are filled with wonder and excitement -- and it's contagious.  So, first and foremost, if you decide that flying is fun, it will be.

Part of the fun is the freedom to enjoy all the perks the friendly skies have to offer -- and yes, I did call the skies "friendly" (on AerLingus they are especially so) and there are indeed perks to be had.  For our clan, these perks include seat-back entertainment and a plentiful supply of pretzels and apple juice.  It doesn't take much to make them happy and happy kids tend to be quiet, well-behaved kids -- at home and at 30,000 feet.  So, let them watch a movie and have a few extra snacks... if you're as lucky as I was, you just might get to watch a movie yourself... although, I admittedly made a bad choice in selecting Bad Teacher.

Last but not least, do your best to stick to your routine.  We tried to keep our kids on their regular schedule... which both to and fro included a snack upon boarding followed by some coloring and reading (and that movie as an extra perk!) before dinner.  Then it was time for dinner, a story and lights out.  Literally.  After we marched them all to the bathroom (for about the 12th time; this was admittedly NOT fun!), we turned off the seat-back entertainment, switched off the lights, got them their blankies and tucked them in. I recall whispering into one little guy's ear "Sweet dreams, sweet boy. When you wake up, you'll be in Ireland."  And indeed we were.

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