Keeping your summer travel with children fun and stress-free

| June 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

FLYING TO OREGON are Clara and Lucas Valdes.

It’s summer! And many Larchmont families are taking to the air again after a year or two of avoiding flights due to COVID-19. With kids not used to being seated on planes for hours, how can parents help flights be fun and stress-free for all? Here are some great tips for air travel with kids.

For little ones traveling for the first time, the experience will be new and exciting. But it can also be a bit overwhelming for some children. Help alleviate uncertainties prior to the trip by reading books about airplane travel and talking about the adventure you’ll be going on. Being a bit familiar with what is happening helps kids feel calm and safe.

On travel day, as everyone is getting settled on the plane, a great way to start the trip is to talk about what’s going on outside. Watch the luggage being loaded and see if your child can spot your bags. Talk about what different people on the tarmac are doing. See if you can spot planes landing and taking off. Explain what the control tower is and how pilots know it’s their turn to take to the sky. If you take a minute to notice, there’s a lot of fun stuff of interest to kids right outside your window.


As the flight gets under way, kids are looking for things to do. Of course, screens are the new go-to. But I am not a huge fan of hours of screen-time, and I find that plane travel can be an opportunity for more than staring into a digital device. A good rule of thumb for travel with kids is to keep a few toys and activities reserved that are only brought out for travel days. Maybe you have a classic Etch A Sketch toy, some Silly Putty, some invisible pen workbooks or a paint-by-sticker activity book. Perhaps you have a mini-set of playing cards or some finger puppets. Things kids don’t often see always seem more exciting and will keep them happily occupied for longer.

If you’re up for creatively engaging with your kids during the flight, you can write a story together. I like to bring a bunch of stickers to spread out on my daughter’s tray table. Then, I get out a notebook and pen and say, “Want to help me write a story?” I let my daughter dictate. I write what she says while she sticker-illustrates the pages. This ends up being great fun for both of us.

Lacing Cards are a fun activity for the 2- to 4-year-old set. And, for kids between ages 4 and 8, beading activities can be good for seated fun. Think ahead and pack some wide-hole beads and string and let your kids make presents for the flight attendants, people you’re going to visit or for themselves. Bringing a small new Lego kit for kids ages 6 to 10 can be a great idea. (Just remember to also pack a container that can corral the many pieces.) And, for the older set, a surprise magazine targeted to their latest interests is something that can light up otherwise bored faces.

Reading to kids during flights is a great way to connect and pass some time. Before travel day, you can check out some books on tape from one of Larchmont’s local libraries, stop by Chevalier’s Books for a few new picture books or take advantage of one of the many Little Free Libraries that families in our area have lovingly provided.

Travel with kids can seem daunting. But, with a little forethought, it can be really fun. If your family ends up traveling this summer, the Larchmont Chronicle would love to hear about your adventures! Take a photo to share where you’ve been.

And, for more tips on life with kids, feel free to send parenting questions to Parent Tips at:
You can also check out my new parenting book, “The Handbook for Life With Little Ones: Information, ideas and tips for birth to age five,” on Amazon.

By Casey Russell

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