A child’s first ride on a commercial airliner can be joyful or fearful for both youngster and parent. You can tilt the balance toward the former if you prepare for an upcoming trip both carefully and sensitively. While your approach will vary depending on your children’s ages, you can find success by turning the preparation into a partnership with toddlers or preschoolers. Make the preparation for flying a journey itself by following these pre-flight steps.
Give an Overview of the Experience
Sit down with your children and give teach them about what they can expect. Use online videos and books that present what they can expect at the airport and on the airplane. Outline both potential experiences at departure and destination airports and on the plane at rest and in flight. Demonstrate great enthusiasm about the feeling of takeoff and landing, since those sensations can be unsettling.
Teach Flying Fundamentals
Naturally curious children will want to understand how planes work. Create hands-on activities exploring how planes fly. Show the workings of an airplane (again with videos). To dispel any fears, explain that jet airplanes are solid machines, with super-strong aircraft rivets, big supportive wings and powerful engines so they can fly safely across the world with no problems.
Choose Activities Together
Children will feel a sense of empowerment if they can help with the planning. Ask yours to choose their favorite books, games, movies or whatever entertainment safety blankets they want for the flight (and the rest of the trip). They can also suggest their favorite comforting snacks. At the same time, you should plan your own activity and food surprises to keep children busy and nourished.
With busy airports and crowded flights, flying these days is a challenging affair under the best of circumstances. The more effort you put into preparing your young child for a first flight, the greater your chances of reaching calm at cruising altitudes.