Scenario 1: You are afraid of your child’s reaction to the pressure change.
Preparation: Schedule a doctor appointment before your trip, if you are concerned your child has an ear infection. If your child is healthy and you are still concerned, have him drink through a straw or a sippy cup during take off and landing to equalize the pressure, or depending on age chew gum.
Scenario 2: Your child doesn’t want to separate from you to walk through security.
Preparation: A few weeks before your trip begin explaining to your child what will happen when you get to the airport. Tell him about removing shoes and putting his bag and toys on the conveyer belt.
Scenario 3: Your child is grumpy because it is nap time.
Preparation: Try to book a flight around your child’s schedule. Try to avoid nap times unless your child sleeps well sitting upright. If you purposely scheduled the flight hoping your child sleeps and it doesn’t happen, provide distractions (see Scenario 4 below).
Scenario 4: Your child gets restless.
Preparation: Bring a selection of new toys or “presents” for your child to open throughout the flight. By introducing something new, your child will be more interested and spend more time with the toy. Another idea, depending on your child’s age, would be a portable DVD player with headphones. Toddler/kid-size headphones are available and have lower volumes to protect little ears.
Scenario 5: Your child is hungry or thirsty.
Preparation: Plan ahead by bringing favorite snacks from home that travel easily – such as raisins, cheese crackers, etc. Airport vending areas don’t have the healthiest options and can be expensive. When it comes to drinks, you need to be more careful. Due to security measures you may need to purchase water or milk near the gate after going through security. To prevent spills, bring along a sippy cup from home and pour the purchased drink into it for the plane.
If you prepare your child and come prepared yourself, you should be able to avert most mid-air meltdowns.