Airplane travel with kids can be a double edged sword. It’s full of excitement and anticipation, but at the same time dread can also set in.
Our minds either remind us of the last time we travelled with kids and all the disasters that followed or, I’m sure you have had well-intentioned friends or relatives who gleefully offered you a disaster story about travelling with kids going into minutiae detail just to re-confirm the dread you already feel!!! (Big Thanks!!)
Well, I’m here to tell you “It doesn’t have to be that way”
I have a few simple, but oh so effective little tips for you to take away and apply immediately. You can now put your mind at ease knowing that you have all the resources you need to create an awesome travel experience!
So, airports are BIG places, with lots of BIG people, BIG noises, BIG smells, and BIG equipment…a massive assault on all our senses. Now, for one moment put yourself in your child’s shoes and see the whole experience of the airport from their perspective – pretty scary hey?
Just double or even triple the impact you are experiencing and that will give you some inkling to how your child is feeling. Also their little nervous systems are not completely developed and all this BIG energy around them is absorbed into their system and totally overwhelms them resulting in tantrums or emotional outbursts in an attempt to rid themselves of this discomfort (more on tantrums later)
So, let’s look at the ways we can either prevent the tantrums or help to alleviate the impact if a tantrum occurs.
- POSITIVE INTENTIONS
If you anticipate your journey with dread and anxiety about how your kids will cope, then that is what you will bring into your world. Our children are extremely sensitive and feed off how we feel.
Do yourself and your child a favour and focus on the positives – focus on what you DO want to happen.
Close your eyes, take 3 deep breathes and create in your mind exactly how you want your Airport and flight experience to be.
What does it look like? Are your kids happy? Did you arrive at the airport with plenty of time? Can you hear your kids laughing? Chatting happily? Do you feel peaceful, calm, enjoyment, excitement?
Now, keep this intention with you.
Get your kids to do the same if they are old enough, or they can create a drawing.
- BEFORE THE BIG DAY
Before leaving for the Airport, possibly the day or night before travel, have a chat to your child about what to expect when you arrive at the airport.
Talk to them about it being a large place with many people, lots of noise and lots of waiting around. This way they know what to expect- no surprises here!
Even better, if you are able to take them to the Airport a few days before the flight so they can become familiar is a great idea.
- FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES
This gets kids excited about the Airport experience –all the things to look forward to and focus on.
For example, all kids big and small love watching planes land and take off (I know I do!). So, arrive early enough to give your child a truly happy memorable experience with Airport travel.
- 30 SECOND MAGIC
This 30 second meditation (or 30 second Magic for the kids) works best when practiced with your kids a few days before the flight, so they know what to expect.
Yep, this is a life saver – so easy for young and old, yet so powerful!
- Close your eyes
- Hands on your heart
- 3 x slow deep breathes – in through your nose, out through your mouth
- Ask your child “Where is happiness in your body?”
They may answer – heart, head, big toe (there is no right answer)
- Now Ask “What colour is happiness?” Yellow, blue
- Now ask your child to breathe this colour all through their body and feel that happiness everywhere
- Ask “How does your body feel?”
This is a beautiful little meditation to do with your children which helps to shift the energy immediately. It clears the negative energy before it gets a chance to build up and cause overwhelm in you and your child.
Perform this 30 second meditation every 1-2 hours at the Airport and while flying, to prevent the tantrums. It can be as long or as short as you like.
- DISTRACTION IS KEY
Keep their little minds active.
Games like “Eye Spy” are great and counting games like, count the number of steps we climb or number of seconds on the escalator. I’m sure you can be creative with this one.
- GIVE THEM CHOICES
This enhances their independence and gives them back some feeling of control in their lives.
Would you like to walk to the boarding gate or skip?
Whilst flying give them choices of things to do and let them decide. What music would you like to listen to A or B? What book would you like to read C or D?
NOTE- just give them two choices at a time otherwise it can lead to confusion and overwhelm (for you both).
- IF THINGS GET CHALLENGING……
If you do all of the above but things get a little difficult try these secrets:
- STOP, breathe and gently re- direct your thoughts to that positive scene that you created- the happy scene
- If your child is in a tantrum, again breathe, show empathy to your child and validate how they are feeling.
Say “I understand you must be feeling overwhelmed or angry – I totally understand – it is okay to feel your emotions but when you are ready to take a breath with me let me know”
They will let you know when they are ready to breathe and then you can do your 30 Second Magic Meditation.
This way they feel loved and supported.
I hope you found value in this article and it gives you inspiration to plan that next holiday.
Please tell me in the comments below which tip you loved and why and if you have other strategies that work, let us know.