Please tell me that I’m not the only one who doesn’t like flying.
Flying makes me feel nauseous, and I don’t like confined spaces, which leads me to be an anxious traveler. Flying with my daughter has also added another level of anxiety, as I worry that her spirited behavior might disrupt other passengers. Let’s face it – no one wants to be “that family” on a long plane ride. And because my husband and I are expats, my daughter and I regularly travel long distances (6-24 hour flights) to visit family and friends by ourselves.
What I’ve learned over the years is that the most important thing I can do is look after myself. Sounds bizarre, but it works for me. Before each long trip, I check in with these questions:
- Have I slept well and exercised?
- Have I been taking vitamins, eating well, and drinking lots of water?
- Do I have everything packed and organized ahead of time (to avoid a frantic rush)?
- Do I have my Travel Well Kit, which includes Rescue Remedy, sea bands, tiger eye bracelet, and probiotics (Amazon affiliate links)?
- Have I prepared both my daughter and myself mentally for the trip?
- Can I get to a yoga class on the day (or day before) the flight?
I find that surviving long plane trips is a combination of maintaining our own health and wellness, being well-prepared, having a positive mindset, surrendering to the experience, and having a sense of humor.
How to stay calm on an airplane while traveling with kids
Here are a few ways that have helped me to stay calm during the long journey:
1. Breathe well.
I use my meditation practice throughout the journey to bring myself back to calm and the present moment. I focus on breathing deeply when my daughter is getting restless while waiting in a long line at customs, when she’s getting frustrated and just about to lose control of her emotions, or when the announcer says that our plane is delayed. Deep yogic breathing is how I can back to the basics.
When we are waiting at the airport, my daughter and I walk from end-to-end to move our bodies. She’s definitely happier walking around investigating the goings-on at an airport than she is sitting still in the waiting lounge. And a dose of exercise is good for both of us.
Any time my daughter and I get up to use the bathroom on the airplane, we practice a few yoga poses together. She loves Tree Pose, Dancer’s Pose (not fully extended), Extended Mountain Pose, and a Standing Twist. It’s a great way for us to have a giggle together while increasing the circulation in our bodies.
4. Be positive.
I focus on thinking positive and kind thoughts to myself and those around me. The more I can get over myself and focus on others, the more grounded and engaged I feel during the flight. If things go awry (tantrums, food spills, or kicking the seat), I remind myself that it’s my job as a parent to stay calm, fix the issue if possible, and help our family move on with a positive mindset.
5. Be mindful.
Staying in the present moment during a long plane trip is crucial for me to stay calm. I do my best to let go of the worrying thoughts and come back to my breath and the situation at hand. This mindfulness practice also helps me to tune in to my daughter’s needs and try to nip a potential tantrum in the bud before it comes. Most importantly, my calmness helps my daughter to remain calm, too.
One of my favorite yoga principles is the concept of balancing both effort and surrender. A lot of effort goes into packing, getting to the airport, and going through security. And then when you get on the plane, there really isn’t anything else to do but surrender. Do your best and just surrender. Then eventually, you’ll get to your destination, and it’ll go however it goes. Then you can get on with your trip!
PIN IT FOR LATER:
Try Family Yoga at the Airport
Try practicing family yoga while waiting for your plane or along your travel journeys. These coping strategies will hopefully help you withstand the stress and anxiety of travel so that you can avoid losing your temper and be ready to prevent conflict when and if it arises. Children watch our every move, so let’s be a good traveling role model. Read the full article here.
Practice Family Yoga on your travels.
Ways to entertain your child during a long flight
Now that you as a parent and caregiver are feeling (hopefully) calm and relaxed, let’s look at some fun ideas from my kid blogger friends with activities for our children on long plane rides:
Check out 50 ways to keep your toddler or preschooler busy on a plane. (Playing with Words 365)
Read the ultimate gift to flying with children. (Mama Smiles)
Download airplane and airport travel printables for toddlers and preschoolers. (Kara Carrero)
Read 15 books about planes and traveling. (Kara Carrero)
Read how to make flying with kids smooth sailing. (Castle View Academy)
Make a toddler or preschooler travel time table. (Kids Play Space)
Create one Ziploc bag full of activities per flight. (Kids Play Space)
Check out these 50+ screen-free travel toys and activities for kids of all ages. (Nate and Rachael)
See how to survive a 13-hour plane ride with a three-year-old. (Kid World Citizen)
Read how to keep toddlers busy on a plane. (Childhood 101)
How to Survive Long Haul Travel with Three Under Five. (Tales of a Twin Mum)
Help Your Sensitive Child Be Calm on the Plane (The Jenny Evolution)
For more travel ideas with children, check out our “Travel” Pinterest board:
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