5 Top Tips for Flying with Kids

Published - 01 February 2021, Monday

“Absolutely helpful for families on air with young kids. A Must read!”  Levend Arisoy, TURKISH Airlines General Manager Singapore

If you happen to fly around with your own children or are flying solo, surrounded by other children on board, this guide book is for you. 

For the past 12 years, I’ve been flying a lot with my four boys. As an expat family living in Asia, life constantly brings traveling opportunities. We have experienced many funny moments accompanied by equally as many dramatic scenes. Fortunately, for you, we have survived to tell all in this guidebook intended to save your sanity on the fly! 

This guidebook brings you helpful tips in three simple steps for various age groups: 

1. Essential PFOP (Pre-Flight Operating Procedures) 

2. Surviving or thriving mode on board 

3. Post-flight (rather than post-trauma) routine 

Here, we draw the line between a flight from heaven or a flight from hell experience. In other words, we save you all those traveling troubles so you can enjoy your flight as much as possible! 

Bonus chapters... 

• Flying solo- for all of you out there who fly kidless - a special chapter will address a few easy tips on how to handle noisy situations onboard and a new way of looking at the situation while activating your EM (A.K.A. Empathy Muscle) for a better flight experience. 

• “Inside scoops” special, where flight attendants will reveal their secrets and tips for you.  

Plus, age-appropriate checklists and “My Treasured Travel Bag” for children at the back of the book! 

So, fasten your seatbelts and let’s take off! 

Tip #1 First and foremost, consider leaving them at home! 

It’s my own private joke (as my hubby does not find it funny). And I’ll dare to say it out loud, that as our boys descend to puberty, we can choose to ascend and take off without them! They can be grumpy and grunt at home as there is no need to pay an expensive ticket just for them to growl their adolescent attitudes in the air! But, if for any reason you are going to take them with you, these additional tips can help: 

Tip #2 Go mental...in a good way (set expectations) 

Across ages, it’s great to share and involve the kids in preparation for the trip. Start off by simply asking them what they are looking forward to, what they are worried about or thinking of. Then, share the plan moving forward. Share what you all are packing, where you will be staying, etc. My boys were worried we would have nowhere to stay in a foreign country. Remind them that their friends, school and pets are all fine while they are away. 

It may sound funny but even babies would appreciate a bit of preparation before the trip. They are very sensitive and feel your energy strongly. You can simply tell them what the plan is or whisper in their ear while they are asleep that a trip is coming soon, and you will be with them as always. 

Tip #3 Travel planning …

Tip #4 Seating plan on board 

My motto is “extra space to rest is always best!” TM. Ask in advance or even try your luck on the day of the flight at the check- in counter for the following: 

• Baby bassinet - each airline holds different regulations for it, based on age or weight. It’s a life-changer, both for you and for the baby. Crucial to order it from the airline directly, in advance. 

• Empty seat near your child - to have space for playing, sleeping etc. 

• Front row seats - for a “play area” on a blanket on the floor. 

• Window seat - for toddlers and up- it’s fascinating for them! 

• Have an adult between the kids - for safety reasons such as seat belts, applying the oxygen masks in case of emergency, etc. 

Tip #7 Fears and anxiety 

If you or your kids are anxious, I highly recommend the following: 

• Breathing exercise: practice simple breathing techniques with them in the weeks before the flight (I shared an example we practice at the end of the book in “My treasure travel bag”) 

• Natural drops: you may want to consult with a naturopath who can prescribe natural drops to calm them down. It can be very exciting and overwhelming to go on an unfamiliar adventure! 

• Chamomile: my boys have loved it in tea form since they were babies. A friend recommended the powder form and honey for older ages (as honey is allergenic before 12-18 months). 

• “Digital Detox”: I think that too much time on electronic devices can drive them a bit nuts, FYI. 


Dana Bachar Grossman is a bestselling author, a public speaker and an expat mom of 4 boys who has traveled to five continents and has lived in Singapore for the last nine years.

She is constantly on the move either enriching her experience as an avid traveler or chauffeuring her boys endlessly from place-to-place as “Mama Uber”. 

Dana, an international mediator, and a negotiation trainer, has been blessed with an innate ability to see things as a "matter-of-fact" while bringing a fresh, optimistic solution to any situation. 

She is a proponent of open communication and empathy and has been guiding families for over 25 years to use these tools to resolve even the most critical disputes. 

Dana founded “MeD8” and “Reaching Hearts- Giving Back” with a mission to motivate people to be effective- empathetic communicators which, in turn, has contributed to our community's greater good. 

In her spare time, she loves to do stand up comedy with the goal of not only raising funds for various charities she is a part of, but also to inspire others to be their best self through the use of language we all understand - laughter. 

Learn more about her work and consider purchasing Fight or flight? The survival guide for flying with kids...by Dana Bachar Grossman at www.danastipsforparents.com

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RATED 7.5 / 8
If you happen to fly around with your own children or are flying solo, surrounded by other children on board, this guide book is for you.

Dana Bachar Grossman

RATED 8 / 8
Here's a few more tips.....

Tip #13 Exhausting the Energizer Bunny 

Let your kids crawl, run and jump safely at the airport before boarding. It is really the best thing you can let them do! You probably know by now that a toddler’s level of energy is identical to that of a nuclear power station! Surrender to the law of nature and let them burn their energy to the last bit, so they board the plane calm. Do the same during connection time between flights. If you have a new born, consider letting them move their limbs freely before swaddling for a long flight. And one more thing... I like to board the plane last and take advantage of every minute possible outside of the plane. My hubby likes exactly the opposite - to board first to get the space for our hand carry bags. We ditched this argument a while ago and now he goes first while I stay behind with the kids, allowing them to run around a bit more. 

*Teenagers BTW are a different story. I think you will have to bribe them to move around! Ha! 

Tip #21 Grumpy passenger shield 

If you notice grumpiness growing around you because of your kid’s cry, try your best to ignore them. That’s just adults crying in their own way! You never know what their life story is and their anger isn’t necessarily related to you. I believe that in most cases, they are willing to help if you reach out and ask for it. You will be surprised how people’s attitudes change for the best when they feel needed. #GoodDeedOnTheFly 

Tip #22 Take-off distractions 

Some kids can get anxious during take-off as the engine noise gets louder. Putting their headphones on with their favourite music is helpful and diverts their attention from the noise. Another option for the younger age group is to appoint them as “co-pilot”. Ask them to press the silver button in their seat until the airplane takes off! They love it! #CoPilotForADay 

Tip #23 Cabin pressure and ear pain 

When taking off and landing, the cabin pressure can cause ear pressure and pain that your little ones can’t release by themselves. The best solutions we practice with various ages are: drink water/ breastfeed/bottle feed, suck a dummy or a lollipop, chewing gum or “pumping” air by blocking the nose and blowing air into it. As long as they move their jaws or swallow, they are good! For young babies, I use Pain Relief Ear Drops an hour before take-off as sometimes they refuse to drink exactly when we want them to.