We have all seen the looks on the faces of passengers on planes when they notice they are seated near children. I myself have been guilty of this pre motherhood. My daughter is 3 years and she also happens to have Down syndrome. So far we have travelled interstate via plane twice and we have also travelled to New Zealand twice, Dubai and Sri Lanka. I have learnt a few things along the way and here are a few tips of advice for those who are new to it.
Prepare your child in advance talking about holidays and planes
I always get my daughter excited about the trip a week before. It has got to the stage that now when we arrive at the airport she is happy and excited to be there. I love travelling so she can feel my positive energy. I point out planes in the sky, read books about travel and tell her what we are going to be doing. I.e. visiting Nana and Grandad, going to the beach etc.
Don’t over pack your carry on bag with toys
Basically all my daughter does on the flight is eat crackers and watch the ipad. I also pack a 1 or 2 of her favourite books to break it up a bit and it is a good chance to spend some quality time reading with her. They don’t need loads of toys and to have a bag full of unnecessary items just makes more work for you. Do make sure you pack a change of clothes, medications and spare items in case your luggage gets lost.
Prepare for night flights
Our first long flight to Dubai was at 9pm. I figured due to my daughter being a great sleeper she would sleep most of the flight. She cried and screamed because she was not used to sleeping in a chair and only managed around 4-5 hours sleep. I got none. Disaster. The trip home was not so bad because I had learnt to get her to sleep in the chair.
Walk the isle
If your child is anxious or screaming and crying don’t be afraid to get up and walk up and down the isle. This distracts them and calms them down. We would go to the end of the plane and she would enjoy exploring that area.
Be the last to board
I know they try and get you to board first but really why be on there any longer than you have to.
Try and relax. Children pick up on your anxiety. I always get to the airport quite early and get a glass of wine and a bite to eat before boarding.
This article was written by Raylene Barton, who blogs at Ariel's World, about her experiences with her three year old daughter Ariel. Check out the website for fantastic products and more interesting blog articles.