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How to Calm Screaming Kids on Planes — Tips from an Expert

January 4, 2010 | Posted in: Favorites,Tips and Tricks,Travel Tips

screaming kids planes tips expert

Some of my readers are just amazing. Like “Steve M” — a businessman and the father of five young children (or as he puts it, “my wife is a saint”).

Steve recently commented on a Dec. 4th post of mine, about what you can do about kids screaming on planes and he offered up some of his own ideas. I thought they were good enough to share. Here’s Steve’s story:

“I travel for business about 60-75% of my life and have seen tons of kids on flights. And I fly in and out of John Wayne Airport (near Anaheim, California) — also known as “Airport Disney”. Typically what I have noticed is that more often than not, the parents make the kids nervous.”

“While there are some that just let their kids run free, they seem to be the minority. It is the super-nervous single mom that seems to have super panicky kids that scream and cry. I have taken to just talking to these parents for a few minutes, telling the mom to relax and play with the kid for a few minutes.”

Keep reading for his ideas on how ordinary passengers spread some calm — and cheer.

Steve continues:

“Sometime you can provide a little assistance — I once reminded the mom that her child’s ears probably hurt when, on landing, he started crying — I told her to “give him something to suck on”. She hadn’t known this was a standard ‘treatment’. My favorite was when I entertained a toddler by teaching the child to stick his tongue out — of course this resulted in a pool of slobber all over the ignoring grandma’s shoulder:-D .”

“For most of these parents, the time on the plane is exhausting, nerve-wracking, and just plain feared. They don’t want to be there with a screaming child anymore than anyone else. If you get a chance, try and help; show some compassion, and feel free to smile at the parent or the child — it might be the only one they see all day! Finally remember — you too were once a child, and your mom probably struggled with you, too.”

Thanks, Steve. You’ve got a big heart.

2 Responses to “How to Calm Screaming Kids on Planes — Tips from an Expert”

  1. Scott says:

    We’ve traveled quite a bit with our daughter (she’s crossed the Atlantic 11 times and she is not yet 5) and found that the biggest tool to keep her well behaved was toys (quieter ones) but mostly just attention.
    Each flight we pass about a half hour (not all at once) looking through the in-flight magazines trying to find pictures of dogs (or cats).
    We also take turns watching her, so we can give her our full attention.
    And we do try to sit toward the back of the plane which is the last area to get completely full.

  2. Rick Seaney says:

    Scott,

    Put me down as being in thorough agreement with you. An attentive parent is a parent who is doing his or her job, and doing it right.

    Rick

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