Air Travel with Kids: How Do I Lessen the Crazy?

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“I’m traveling this summer and I am FREAKING out! I have a 3 and a 5-year-old and we are taking a plane. What do I do so they don’t make me or other passengers crazy?”

Traveling CAN be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a horror show.

Keep in mind that society lets loud, obnoxious grown-ups out and about in public – so KIDS who are loud and… ummm… let’s just say loud – are allowed out there too!

And they are KIDS and still learning (so, to the jerk yelling at the line to move faster – what’s your excuse?) What’s a grown up’s excuse? Hmmm? NONE. OK, rant over – let’s get down to biz.


Ya know how I love independent kids, so let’s talk about how to integrate that here. Have your kids pack their own bags. Have them find things that they want to do on the plane – or in the car, for those using that mode of transportation.

Books, coloring, pocket games. Have them pick some snacks. Have them bring a lovey. The idea is that if THEY pack it they will be less likely to say, “I HAVE NOTHING TO DOOOOOO.”

Have the kids talk about what they will watch ahead of time.

You KNOW you’re gonna upload some movies, but discuss it before travel begins so that the kids aren’t fighting during the actual travel experience. The more that is planned beforehand, the less stressed YOU will be and the less arguments there will be. How about THAT?? Pretty awesome right? YUPPERS!!!


Be clear about the plans: “We are going to get up and have breakfast. We will go to the airport, and it will look like…” Oh, and parents, everyone will carry their own things. You have enough to carry. Each child carries their own backpack. Not a big deal – they do it at school allllll of the time. It’s NOT too heavy, they are NOT too tired. They are a part of the team, and they need to do their part.

Be clear about the behavior you want to see:

“It will be a long day, but yelling and fighting won’t help. If I ask you for help, I expect to get it, please. If you are not helpful, then you will lose your turn to pick the movie/music. If you aren’t following the rules of the team, you can’t do the fun things that the team is doing.”


Sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do. You KNOW I’m not really down with bribes, but when you are traveling sometimes there is no other course. You need a quiet car so you can drive safely to your destination. You need them to be chill on the plane so they don’t drive everyone nuts – including you.

Bring some lollipops – or whatever gets your kids’ attention.

Save it though. Don’t start there. Save those suckers (haha, suckers, get it?) for an emergency. Once upon a time, you probably never thought that a child tantruming over watching a second PJ Masks show would constitute as an emergency, huh? Well, now it does. It does BIG time.

Also, let things go.

Before getting angry, ask yourself why you are so mad. Is this really a path that you want to go down right now? Do you want to chance the tantrum over a little marker on a shirt or some spilled water? NO WAY. Keep in mind that travel makes for a long day for YOU – and you’re a grown-up. Imagine being a kid. You were one once, so it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine.

You got this!

I know you do. It’s vacay season. Have fun. Break some rules, and follow these tips, and your vacation travel will be easy, umm, easier. Happy Warm Weather Time Everyone!

Like what you read? Check out our previous Ask & You Shall Receive here! Also check out our latest FREE online classesparenting advicejobs for momseventschildcare listingscasting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group.

Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by

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