If your spouse is in the Military, you have probably had to travel somewhere by yourself. If you have had to do this with children, you know how challenging doing so can be. I have had to do it too many times. I am not a pro at flying with my children and I get through the challenge by preparing a little and praying a lot. Here are just a few tips that you might find helpful.
1) Don’t book a super early morning flight. If you can, make the flight later in the morning or later in the day. Waking up at 3am to get to the airport in time has never ever worked for me. What usually happens is that I don’t sleep the night before or only get an hour or two. It is just not good to start a day of travel that way. So if you can, don’t book early morning flights.
2) Media is your friend. When we were flying back from California the last time my son played with the Kindle Fire. I didn’t have to worry about him at all. Now for the younger kids, this might not work but I will never not fly with some type of media for my kids again. The only reason we survived trips overseas and back was because the kids were able to watch movies. You do have to remember that they are not allowed to use them on take off and when you land. It is a good idea to talk to your kids about that rule beforehand.
3) Prizes. Before flying I tell my boys that they will get a prize once we are seated on the airplane and they have their seatbelts on. This really works for my son with Autism as he does really well when you plan ahead like that. I usually give them a small Lego or something I know they would love and that will keep them entertained. You can go to the dollar store or even a thrift store to find little toys they have never played with before. Give them out throughout the flight.
4) Don’t try to be supermom. I think there is this idea that if you are a good mom, your kids will be perfect angels when they fly. The reality is, kids are kids. You do what you can as a Mom to get everyone on that plane and to make it through the flight. I don’t mean ignore your kids if they are being loud or acting up, but give yourself a break. You are traveling alone with children. Your husband might be deployed and you might be at the end of your rope. People might stare and people might comment but don’t let it get to you. You know you are a good parent but you are being tested and it is okay if it doesn’t go the way it should. Some people are rude, some people have no idea what it is like to fly with kids and some people have forgotten what traveling with small kids is like.
5) Accept help when it comes. I am bad about this. I want to do it all myself. But there are nice people out there. Someone might ask if they can help you carry a car seat, let them. Someone might ask if you need help getting into your seats, let them. Be polite and ask the flight attendants if you need something. They should be understanding.