Crying babies on a plane are everyone's worst nightmare - especially the parents of that crying baby. Toddlers and other small children can reach their limit long before a cross country flight is finished. If that flight is to be followed by an overseas flight, everyone will be praying for the kids to fall asleep in exhaustion. Air travel with small children will never be easy so be sure to plan ahead!

The following are some ideas to help you prepare for your next trip.

Know what you're getting into

If you are traveling with a baby, you are still allowed to carry the baby on your lap during the flight. This sounds great when you're paying for the tickets, but it may be less appealing on the flight. Most often, modern booking systems and tight economics mean that most flights are full. Don't anticipate a free seat for baby. If she's booked on your lap, that's where she'll be.

Prepare the kids

Before you go, prepare the kids for the experience of being on an airplane - if this is their first trip or the first one they can remember. Help them to understand that flying on a plane is safe. Tell them what to expect so that they aren't anxious about flying. Whatever you do, don't show them any scary airplane movies in the weeks leading up to your trip.

Plan age appropriate activities

For each of your children make sure they have age appropriate activities that they can do in their allocated space. Tiny kids need lots of room. Help them find games, toys and activities - coloring books - that they can do without leaving their seats.

Don't trap the kids in their seats

While no one will be eager to see the kids up and running around the plane, keep in mind that they can't disturb the captain - she's safely locked in the cockpit. Everyone else will be happier with content kids than crying ones. Older kids should be encouraged to get up and walk around on long flights. You should plan shifts for walking the kids too young to explore on their own. Of course, always observe the "fasten seatbelt sign."

Babies cry

Don't get overly anxious when your baby starts to cry. That won't help. Remain calm. Remember that most people on the flight are also parents and they understand that babies cry. Also note that on all, but the most modern planes, the sound of the baby crying only carries a few rows. The engine noise will drown out the crying for most passengers. In other words, the whole planeload of people isn't being tortured and isn't plotting your untimely demise. Be prepared for the possibility that your baby will cry the entire flight, even over an ocean. It isn't the end of the world. You may find that you are more comfortable walking with the baby. You and your spouse may want to take turns - it is exhausting work. The more prepared you are for the crying, the better you'll handle it. No one wants to see you lose your composure, too. Being ready for the baby drama can take the drama out of the trip.

Don't let your next family vacation be ruined by the flights. Be prepared to have fun so that the travel will be a highlight for your kids.

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