Talk with your child in advance about expected plane behavior. Explain that she will have to sit still when you tell her to.
Describe the duration of the flight in terms she will understand: The trip may take as long as “five Sesame Streets.” Teach her about the fasten seatbelt sign so that she can watch it light up.
Before you board, run around: Frolic in the airport until the last possible moment.
Bring several of your child’s favorite quiet toys, lots of books and coloring stuff, as well as a few new things to make the time go by. Play-Doh, a glowstick, or a mini flashlight can make for hours of entertainment. Give the new toys one at a time, so the process takes longer.
If you’ll be receiving a meal, request a kid’s meal when booking your tickets. Even if your child doesn’t eat the food, there may be fun packaging or a toy she can play with.
To minimize the discomfort of pressure in the ears at takeoff and landing, get your child to suck and swallow by any means necessary. This may mean nursing, using a pacifier, drinking, eating, sucking a lollipop, or chewing gum, depending on your child’s age.
Charm the flight attendants when you board—their support will be useful if things get hairy. Be polite to your nearby seatmates as well—their patience will also come in handy.