As it is with adults, some children love flying and others find it terrifying. It is a fairly common scene in an airport and on a commercial flight to see a child throwing a tantrum about having to go on the plane. They can scream, kick the seat in front of them, slip out of their seatbelts, and run around, and some may even get sick from fear. This is an embarrassing and frustrating scene for the parents.
Flying in a smaller plane or an air taxi is a good way to provide some privacy and possibly avoid some embarrassment for the parents. These tips can help you prepare your child for flying in an air taxi that might make the trip more enjoyable for you and your kids.
You are probably going to be tempted to pack everything your kids use regularly at home, to be sure they have their favorite toys and you are fully prepared for your trip. This seems like a great idea, but it really is not practical.
Instead, give them a little backpack of their own and let them pack the toys and books they want to have with them. It will have to be light enough for them to carry, so it will not get overloaded with everything. If there is a special candy they love, slip some of that in before the flight as a surprise for them when they open their bag during the flight. If there is a special toy or book they have been wanting, you can sneak it into their bag too, as a surprise for the flight.
Bring gum, suckers, and/or hard candy, it can help them cope with their ears popping. Try to explain to them what is happening, if they are old enough, it might make the experience less scary for them.
It is a good idea to travel with some basic medications in case someone gets sick or is already sick before the flight. Some medications you may want to bring are for headaches, allergies, upset stomachs, motion sickness prevention, and possibly — depending on the situation and your child — something to help them sleep. If they are sick they are not going to enjoy the trip anyway, so giving them something that will help them sleep during the flight is always a good idea.
If your child is angry or upset, it is not recommended to give them a sedative. It will not negate their fears of being on the plane and it might end up making the flight even more difficult for you. Try to work with them through their fear and prepare them mentally instead of giving them a sedative.
Whether your child has a fear of flying or has never been on a plane before, take time to prepare them mentally for the trip. Teach them “air taxi manners,” to help with their potential behavior. These manners can include things like no running, keep your shoes and socks on, do not throw things, and other things you might anticipate your child needing to know. You can try telling them that air taxi manners are controlled by the “air police,” if you think that will work on your child.
Try to avoid scolding your child during the flight; this will often make their behavior worse. Try to distract them with whatever activities you packed — coloring books, movies, books, puzzles, etc — to keep them calm. This may not work on every child, but it is worth trying.