Summer is finally here, bringing with it all the excitement of vacations and holiday trips. Though vacations are always a welcome break, the traveling part could sometimes be a challenge for us parents. Many children find the whole travel process overwhelming. The crowds, unfamiliar sights and sounds can be a bit too much to handle; especially when it comes to air travel.
As I was looking for tips to make air travel easier for my child, I came across some great ideas that I thought were worth sharing:
Prepare your child
Margalit Francus, founder of Autistic Globetrotting, an online resource, recommends preparing your child for the upcoming trip. She recommends going through the travel process in detail to prepare the child.
One book that is highly recommended for young kids is ‘Going on a Plane’ available on Amazon.
Meg Harris, co-founder and CEO of Special Globe, a travel related resource for families with special needs kids, suggests creating a storyboard with lots of fun visuals. Harris also suggests Apps to help educate your children. “Off We Go — Flying on a Plane” is one app that is available on iTunes which allows children to interact with the story and also has great sound effects for them to hear and get accustomed to.
Another parent recommended app - ‘Kid in Story’ - allows you to create a story ahead of time, using photos of your kids to place them in various situations that you anticipate in your upcoming trip.
If it is possible, schedule a dry run. Either take your child for a ride to the airport or to a flight simulator experience. If you are in Mumbai, Flight4fantasy offers a flight simulation experience at Phoenix Market City, Kurla.
Plan your travel keeping your child in mind
If you have the option, choose to travel at a time when your child is least likely to fret. Many parents suggest mornings as the best time to travel, when you are sure that your child is well rested and less likely to be fretful.
Request for priority boarding
Having some extra time to settle in before other passengers could help to make your child feel a bit more comfortable on the journey.
Carry essentials for the trip
Some kids may need noise blocking headphones, others may need gum to help alleviate ear pain. Also try and pack activities to keep your child engaged during the flight. These should help to tide over most of our travel related concerns.