The first time you fly with a small child, you’re thrilled at the pre-boarding perk and line up to get on that plane as soon as possible. And it’s great for a few minutes as you get settled and into your seats, but then you sit and wait as all the other passengers file in and before you know it, the kiddos are getting restless, have eaten all the snacks you packed, and you realize it’s been 40 minutes, but you’re still on the ground.
So while it may seem like a good idea to allow families traveling with young children board early, spending more time on that plane than absolutely necessary isn’t such a good thing for the little ones. What would work better? Boarding last.
Instead of getting on the plane sooner, use that time to empty bladders, change diapers, and getting the sillies and wiggles out. That means jumping jacks, a few rounds of “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” and Tae Bo, if that’s what gets your kids moving. Basically, just do anything you can do to get them physically prepared for a stretch of quiet sitting that’s going to be longer than they can possibly imagine. And whatever you do, don’t hand over the iPad yet, you’ll need that as a bribe when you’re mid-flight.
Sure, there are exceptions and times you’ll want to take advantage of that pre-boarding option, like if you’re flying alone with the kids and don’t have assigned seats or you’re traveling with a clunky car seat and need time and space to secure it. Otherwise, timing is everything and the less you spend on that plane with the youngsters, the better everyone will feel.