My Secret to Happy Kids on a Long Flight


Before kids, getting on an airplane was like sleep heaven for me. I would usually dose off during take off and wake up right before landing.

That all changed after I had children, and as any parent knows, most children on an airplane aren’t too keen on sleeping from take off to touch down. When I took my oldest daughter on her first flight, I came up with an idea.

If she behaves on the plane, the "pilot" will give her a present. It’s something she still believes to this day, and on 90 percent of the flights so far, she has been very good and even a helper with my youngest.

How Does This Work?

Before the flight, I go out and buy small presents, wrap them, keep them in my carry-on luggage. If my girls are good throughout the flight, give it to them towards the end of the flight. If the girls are not well-behaved, then no gifts.

These items are small and simple. I promise the time and money spent on this strategy is money well spent!

If your child becomes restless, gently remind them the pilot only gives presents to good children. When my daughter doesn’t want to put her seatbelt on, I remind her of the button above and that the pilot cannot fly unless her seatbelt is on when the lamp is on. I would also remind her about the present from the pilot.

The Priceless Looks

Most flyers avoid sitting next to or near children on an airplane if they can. They dread the yelling and the seat kicking.

When we fly, however, I often receive compliments like "such well behaved young travelers.” My girls are now 5 and 2 years old, and this strategy is still going strong!

Best of luck to you on your next trip. Let me know how it goes.

#childrenonanairplane #pilot #TipsAdvice

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Caroline Glassell, owner of Travel Barista, is a world-wide traveler, freelance travel writer, and multi-lingual mom of two daughters. Growing up in both Sweden and Portugal she developed a passion for travel at a young age. Her love of travel ultimately brought her to over thirty 

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