There are many new experiences that your child might either really enjoy or they could struggle to cope with something quite challenging to a young brain like flying, unless you prepare them for the journey beforehand.
According to a survey by bottonline.co.uk, many airlines are failing to provide an acceptable level of customer service when handling issues like delayed flights, but at least you can do your bit as a parent, and give them a positive first-flight experience.
Improve your odds of a good reaction
You will know how the natural pattern of your child’s day evolves, with some kids more receptive and alert in the morning, while others might be better after being allowed to wake up slowly and improve throughout the day.
A good idea to improve the odds of your child’s first flight going well, would be to try and find a flight schedule that fits in well with their natural routine, so if they are not a morning sort of person, it might not be a great idea to book a flight first thing in the day.
You could try booking a flight that is in line with their usual nap time if they are younger and still sleep in the day at some point, or at least work out when would be a good time so that they are most receptive to their first flight experience.
Talk about what lies ahead
It is always a good strategy to prepare your child for their first flight by arranging to talk about what to expect and what they might feel like at various stages of the journey.
There are some good books available that are aimed at educating and entertaining children at the same time, which talk about going on an aeroplane and what to expect from a child’s perspective.
Sit down and go through your chosen book with them or find some other way to educate them, so that they can see what the aeroplane will look like and ask any questions that they might have.
Many children have a favourite toy or comforter that they like to take with them, so first on your list when packing for the intended flight would be to make sure they have something very familiar with them to help if they feel anxious or even scared at the prospect of flying.
As you will probably already know as a parent, losing their favourite item will normally involve a combination of tears and maybe even tantrums, which is not something you want when trying to ensure that their first flying experience goes well.
Some kids don’t cope very well with flight conditions, no matter how excited they are about the prospect of flying through the air amongst the clouds, they might need a bit of medical help to keep them calm and feeling well.
Kids ears can be particularly sensitive to changes in air-pressure, which is what they may well feel when the plane is taking off or landing. Giving them a suitable sweet to suck can often do the trick, but you might want to check whether you can take some liquid paracetamol or something suitable to alleviate any pain or discomfort they might be feeling.
The main thing to concentrate on is to talk about flying in an aeroplane in a positive way and to prepare them in the right way, so that they can cope and go on to become seasoned flyers.
Carl Simmons world recently turned upside down with the arrival of his first child. Suddenly he is the parent with the crying baby on the busy flight, and the one with the toddler having a meltdown at the store! He writes about parenting from a Dad’s perspective.