Expectation Management When Flying With Kids

We just completed our third plane ride in 6 weeks. Once again I flew with the 4 children solo. And every trip, I learn a little bit more on how I can better prepare whether if that’s something to bring or a change in my mental mindset.


I chose a red eye flight. There were several reasons.
1: Cheaper
2: Hopefully the kids would fall asleep
3: In the hopes of a less populated plane

Putting the kids in their pajamas (or jammie jammies as we call it) helped set the mood and comfort for the flight.


We made it to the gate early (very unusual for my brood) and thankfully there was a window ledge that the kids piled on to watch the sunset and planes taxi.

And I’ll admit the kids were a bit stir-crazy and wild eye, probably from the late hour and anticipation. I had to take a few big breaths, smile and maintain the kids as best as I could.


Ok, so expectation management. Only Sweet Cheeks fell asleep. I was already prepared for me not to sleep but all the older kids had a hard time settling down and I didn’t push the sleep as it’s hard to maneuver with a sleeping babe. And it was only a 4.5 hour trip.

Super cute sleeper even if my arm fell asleep multiple times.

And assume someone will have an accident at some point on the flight (one of my children didn’t make it to the bathroom in time, ice spilled multiple times everywhere, peanuts flew open and onto the ground, an elbow to the nose brought on streaming blood on take-off, you know the usual).


Oh wait, let me explain that upon landing the Third fell fast asleep. And so of course, I was left with 2 whiny kids, one Miss Independent (Sweet Cheeks), and a groggy exhausted kid.

The above picture is after he woke up and was waiting for our ride outside.

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Once we deboarded, Miss Independent wanted to walk so Hallmark was given the seat of honor (Boba carrier). And he loved it. I had to power through and carry the bags in the front along with Sweet Cheeks who actually helped balance the weight from the back.

Lugging/dragging/guiding the kids to the baggage claim came with many remarks, comments and stares.

Smile and breathe in grace.

And clothing, you’ll learn no matter how fitted your shirt is, inevitably it will be stretched out at the end of the journey. So if that’s a concern then pack a new shirt into your carry-on (because you have so much space available, right?!)


Thankfully we made it with suitcases and carseats. As we waited for our ride, the kids woke up enough to relax and play in their car-less carseats.

Remember you’ll inconvenience some people but patience is a virtue and smiles & good manners go a long way!


And be prepared for very sleepy kids. Kids who fall asleep on the counter. Kids who speak nonsense because they are so tired. Kids who walk into walls. You know, sleepy kids.

And the last expectation is you’ll have memories that you can choose to laugh when you share the stories with others.

One thought on “Expectation Management When Flying With Kids

  1. Pingback: Plane Trips with Toddlers | A Small Thing In Your Eyes

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