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Are you about to go on holiday with small children? Many parents are most intimidated by air travel.

While plane trips can certainly be tedious, and you can hardly expect being scrutinized by airport security personnel to be the most exciting part of your holiday, flying with children doesn t have to be torturous. How can you make it easier?

If you meet two basic requirements, air travel will be fine. They are 1. Keeping your child from being exhausted while you are moving to and through the airport, and 2. Keeping your child entertained and comfortable while on the plane.

At the airport

Smaller children, especially those who still take afternoon naps, will get tired and whiny if they re required to walk to the gate by themselves, especially if your trip to the airport also involved walking. In my experience, strollers are not convenient for airport situations just try to push a kid in a stroller and carry a suitcase if you re not sure. A good baby carrier that you can use to carry your child on your back is much better. Framed backpacks or toddler mei tais can carry children well past the baby stage. I ve carried my (smallish) four year old in our Ergo baby carrier too. With a good carrier at hand, your child won t whine when they re tired they ll just go to sleep on your back. And you won t need to panic about carrying luggage and a sleeping child, because it is all taken care of.

On the plane

Oh no, we re stuck behind a little brat! The passenger in the next row said to her travel companion as we boarded a plane with our two year old daughter a few years back. The notion that kids are a nuisance is present everywhere, and perhaps even more so on an airplane. The very person who made that comment turned out to be much more annoying than my daughter on that trip though my kid spent the entire time drawing, playing I spy with my little eye , and playing a game on my laptop. The passenger who didn t like sitting behind a toddler complained about the food loudly. The more a small child flies, the more comfortable she ll be during check-in, while waiting at the airport, and on the plane itself. But the golden rule that goes for any occasion with a lot of waiting around also holds true on an airplane: bring stuff that keeps your child occupied and enjoying themselves.

That can be simple craft supplies, like crayons and paper or even playdough (careful with that, dough ), an audiobook on your iPod, a movie, or a computer game. Besides keeping a child busy, making sure they are fed and clean... and have access to the bathroom when they need it are the most important things. Take formula and extra bottle (in case you lose one) if you bottle feed, and if you nurse, flying is the ultimate occasion to breastfeed in public. Take a change of clothes for every kid and every parent, in your cabin luggage. And don t worry; whether you re taking an hour long flight, or are going halfway across the world, everything will be fine.

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