Also check out our Top Ten Tips for Travel with Infants and Babies.
1. Bring several small toys as diversions. Even if you plan to use electronic devices good to have some variety. We love magnetic toys, puzzles, and drawing tablets. Avoid toys that have too many pieces that can get lost.
2. Bring spare clothing for your kids. Think surprise spills or accidents. Pack lots of snacks. It’s another activity, and a hungry child is not a good child.
3. Take one or two favorite paperback books or access them on a tablet device.
4. Talk in advance about what to keep in mind when they are walking through the airport (such as strong safety messages about we all stay together, you must be next to one of your adults, what to do if they somehow get separated from you) and when going through security (no horsing around, no pretending you have a gun).
5. At security, look for a family/medical liquids line. When available, they are shorter and more understanding. Bring a printup of any TSA policy you wish to take advantage of. If you have a child with special medical or other needs, for example anaphylactic allergies, consider carrying relevant documentation if there is something that TSA might question. Since I carry epipen shots for my sons, as an extra precaution I always have a letter from the pediatrician with me as I was questioned one time about it.
6. Be creative. Make up a story, draw funny pictures together, teach them tic tac toe. Talk about where you’re going to visit and fun things you’ll do there.
7. Accept offers of help. Remember it’s impossible to steal your child on an airplane, and everyone benefits if you get through security quickly.
8. Use a foldable scooter for a 4 to 6 yr old to get through the airport easily.
9. Plan for renting large items (such as carseats) on the other side when possible, or pack them in a padded bag. Check them over for potential damage at baggage claim before leaving the airport.
10. For children 2+, load up an iPad or other tablet with movies and games. We hope you’ll bring Cavity Dragons and work on toothbrushing skills!
Great tips! And here are some tricks for childproofing once you arrive at your destination:
Great advice on this. Being well prepared and also letting the child know about what the trip entitles, how we should behave etc. can really help a parent avoid some ‘hairy’ situations.