... There are long airport lines, security checkpoint(s), boarding the plane, sitting in a confined, shaking, noisy space that can pressure little ears, and travel etiquette issues like not kicking the seats...

But when children understand what to expect and what is expected of them, they are always much better behaved.

If parents are prepared and prepare their children as well, travel with little ones can be an absolute joy!

Links to recommended articles - each emphasizing the need to involve children in preparation for the trip!

Packing and Pre-Trip Considerations.
Links to our
favorite checklists.

Tools (DVDs & Books) to Prepare Toddlers for Travel.

08 March 2008

Dress for Success on the Plane

When I made the first appointment with my daughter's new dentist, we received a lovely packet that included a checklist to prepare my daughter for what to expect and what was expected of her at the dentist's office. As I am a firm believer in just that type of preparation (it is never too early to teach children to be responsible for themselves insofar as they are capable), you can imagine how pleased I was ... especially in one of the more obscure line items: "Please have your child dress up for their first visit."

Having been in the business of preparing toddlers to travel for a few years now, that line item is near and dear to my heart. As small a consideration as it may seem, attire can actually play a big role in the whole flying adventure. Honor the journey, weight it with preparation, anticipation - and then dress for the occasion. That's not to say be fancy, but is to say: Match. Layer. Wear clean clothes that aren't ugly t-shirts. It's unconventional common sense advice, though not commonly found on family travel websites (which often focus on the comfort of the clothing). But comfort and decent attire are not mutually exclusive.

Just as Shae's dentist knows from experience, I can assure you that dressing yourself and your children in matching, comfortable, nice clothes (and by nice, I just mean lacking stains or holes) has at least two positive results:

1. Your fellow passengers' first impression of you (and we all know how important first impressions can be) is that you respect them, and the journey, and that you and your family are not taking the experience lightly. People are far more apt to be patient and less likely to presume that your kiddos will be a detriment to their flight if the parents and their kiddos appear respectable; and

2. Your children will understand, not only because they are told, but also because it is evident in the extra care taken in getting dressed, that traveling by air is something special. When they are not dressed as if it's just another day at daycare or preschool, and you are not dressed like the family is making a quick run to the supermarket, it sets a positive, exciting tone. And children who are excited to be doing something are far more apt to listen and behave in order to continue doing it. This is an airplane trip! Whether it's the first or the 500th it is still thrilling. My daughter has been on countless planes now, and every time it's exciting - for both of us - and we dress for the journey.

Update (12 June 2008): A recent article entitled "What Not To Wear On the Plane" by Christopher Elliott and featured on further expounds on this subject.

The Parent & Toddler Flight Kit

Parent & Toddler Flight Kit
Prepare now for a great flight! Our complete package has everything your family needs to make the journey as much fun as the destination, with items for both parents and children. Parents will learn what to avoid and what to prepare for with the expert guidebook Jet With Kids:Taking the Fear Out of Flying...WITH YOUR KIDS! Toddlers and child fliers will love the Shae By Air DVD Toolkit™, which demonstrates for kiddos what to expect and what is expected of them with a fun DVD movie about flying, plus a picture packing list and luggage tags. Available for purchase from our affiliate (and trusted favorite) site

Favorite Toddler Travel Toys

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