Flying with Kids. How to Keep Your Sanity – Part 2

In my last article, I talked about how to prepare so you will have well-behaved kids on your next flight.  Before I get to what to do on the flight, I want to discuss what you can do with them in the airport to keep them occupied. 

Depending on the age of your children, you may just be able to give them their smart tablets to keep them occupied while they are waiting to board the flight.  If you have little ones like myself who are under the age of 6, keeping them occupied is a whole other ballgame.  They are super excited to be going, but can’t wait to get back home on the return trip.  Either way, they are excited, anxious, and ready to get on that plane, so telling them they have to wait is tough for them. 

Here are my tips for keeping them occupied:

  1. Find a space that is large where they can spread out and play. If your gate area is crowded, go a few gates down where there is more room, but you can still hear the announcements for your gate.  The kids need space to chase each other and get that extra energy out before having to sit on a plane for a few hours.
  2. Let them play and run! My kids love to chase each other so in our large space they can do just that.  You can also put two pieces of luggage at opposite ends of the space and tell them this is their race area.  We have races in the airport, but just between the two pieces of luggage.
  3. This tip is two-fold because you can also do this on the plane. Airports have large windows to let light in and everyone can view the planes.  In the dollar bins at many stores there are window clings that are completely removable.  If you purchase a few sheets, the kids can decorate the windows while they are waiting.  Just don’t forget to take them off and take them with you for the windows on the plane. 
  4. We all remember the game “I spy with my little eye.” This is quite fun in an airport because there are so many things of various colors and shapes, and the kids love it when you play too. 
  5. Playing teacher is becoming a fun activity in our house, so when we were at the airport I wasn’t surprised the kids wanted to play it there as well. You can get flash cards of letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc in most dollar bins, and they are easy to carry around too.  The kids love when they can be the teacher and teach us our shapes and colors. 
  6. Take them window shopping.  Many airports have shops in the main area that include everything from clothes, to travel gadgets, to kids’ stuff.  I love to take them in the travel gadget store to play “Guess what that gadget is used for.”   You will find that your kids have the most wonderful imagination for what they think a pair of ear plugs are used. 
  7. Eat something. Airport food can be on the expensive side, but we always try to eat a meal at the airport so we don’t end up with hungry, cranky kids on the airplane. 
  8. Remember in my last article when I said each kid packs a bag of stuff they want to take, well, this is the time for them to play with some of those toys.

I hope some of these tips will help you in the airport next time you fly with your little ones, and as always… SAFE TRAVELS!

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Mary Yohannan
Mary Yohannan lives in the Baldwin-Whitehall area of Pittsburgh. She moved to Pittsburgh over 2 years ago with her husband and 2 beautiful children. Mary owns her own travel agency Life is Better Traveling™, LLC which has helped hundreds of families take amazing vacations to Disney®, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, and all over Europe. She is also the founder of the Travel Agent School Supporting Learning and Education™ or T.A.S.S.L.E, which has the How to Become a SUCCESSFUL Travel Agent program™, a one-stop, all-inclusive program for someone who wants to become a Successful Travel Agent. Mary earned the distinguished honor of the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) through the Travel Institute in 2016, and has several other travel and tourism certifications. Mary has traveled to over 20 countries on 3 continents, but it wasn’t until she had children did she learn that traveling with little ones is a completely different, and sometimes challenging, traveling experience. Mary’s authentic passion for travel and traveling with her children has given her extensive knowledge on the best tips, tricks, and hacks to keep kids calm, entertained, and well-behaved while traveling. She posts a variety of travel tips and tricks on her highly coveted, High Content Life is Better Traveling website, but she has a lot of great advice on traveling with kids that she can’t wait to share with all those amazing Pittsburgh Moms.