Does your next family trip include flying with toddlers or young kids? If so, get excited! Most children love flying and while you think this may not be the case for you, have no fear! We have compiled some of our favorite tips and tricks to help make flying with your little ones enjoyable and stress free. 


The fear of the unknown is real, so cut it off at the pass. Kids do better when they know what to expect. It is so important to give your littles the full overview of what will happen from arriving at the airport until landing at your destination. This includes baggage check, security, boarding and proper onboard etiquette. 


Nobody likes being cooped up in a small space, unable to move around for hours at a time; this is especially true for children. Preparing ahead of time and packing lots of different activities and distractions will save your sanity. Some of our favorite boredom busters are: 

  • Tablet, laptop, or smartphone
  • Kids headphones
  • Coloring / activity books 
  • Books to read
  • Card games 

Other things we suggest packing in preparation for your flight are:

  • Water and snacks (might we suggest sugar free?)
  • Sanitizer, wipes, diapers and pull ups (if applicable) 
  • Change of clothes (spills, accidents and upset tummies happen…be prepared!)


It is no secret that airplanes rarely feel comfortable. They are either too hot or too cold. Every. Single. Time. Dress your kiddos in layers so they can dress up or dress down depending on their comfort level. We also suggest they wear shoes with no laces (Velcrotrav, sandals, etc…). This will help removing their shoes for security go quicker. 


There is nothing worse than running through the airport in a panic trying to catch a connecting flight. Now, try that with kids…torture. Fly direct when at all possible to avoid the stress of navigating a second airport. Plus, a direct flight will get you to your destination quicker which eliminates the amount of time your littles will be expected to sit still. 


We have all heard the gate attendant come over the speakers telling parents traveling with young children to board first. When you are traveling with kiddos, this announcement is music to your ears. Boarding early allows you time to find your seats, arrange your carry ons, get buckled and build your flight cocoon before the hustle and bustle of everyone else coming aboard. 


Asking children to sit still and quiet for hours at a time is not natural, and while necessary there are things we as parents can do to help make this easier. Allow children to be active up until boarding call. Some airports even have children play areas for this very purpose. If your airport does not have one of these there are other things you can do to help get the excited energy out. Let them run around outside before heading to the airport, walk around the terminal, or play an airport version of “Simon Says” at the gate to help eliminate the jitters. A calm child is a tired child so don’t have them sit quietly at the gate for hours waiting to board. Use this time to set them up for a calm and quiet flight. 


One of the biggest complaints children have when flying is the dreaded ear pain. The changing cabin pressure is nobody’s friend, so plan ahead for this. If children are old enough, pack gum to chew or lollipops to suck on during take off and landing. If you have younger ones – help encourage yawning or give them a snack to chew and swallow. If you want to get ahead of this discomfort, give them children’s Tylenol before take off, this may help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort during the flight. 


There is nothing worse than carrying multiple heavy bags while keeping up with children. Let each little one carry a backpack with their airplane activities and pack a backpack for yourself. By using backpacks, kids can be responsible for and carry their own luggage and you will have both hands free to help hold little hands or wrangle kiddos up when it’s time to board. 

No matter how much we prepare, it is impossible for things to go exactly as we hope. Allow for extra time, take deep breaths and remember, kids will be kids. As long as children are being respectful of the space and those around them, relax and enjoy this time with them. You all will be at your destination and ready for an incredible vacation before you know it.