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How to make flying with your kids, ok

Send: 2020-01-11

Hey Mark,

I am writing from the couch at my moms from where I grew up. We took a short flight from Bergen to Amsterdam as we are going to sunday school. Which is not what it sounds like 😆 It is a kids clothing exhibition.

At Bergen airport
At Bergen airport

Before you read further, put on this sound track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eab_beh07HU (Good Vibrations)

Anyway, I thought I would share our super basic tips for when we go flying with the kids.

There are two main parts of flying that are annoying or sometimes even painful for a child.

Going up 🛫 and going down 🛬

And then the rest is just boredom.

Can you hear me?

Let's look at how we hear things; sound is a series of vibrating molecules that travel through the air, think of it how a wave travels through water. The molecules don't move but instead they push the next molecules bofore them who in turn do the same to the ones before them, ect ect ect. And our ears, specifically the eardrums, feel these vibrations and translate them into sounds for our brain to interpret.

If you have a bigger speaker then see if you can take off the cover to show your kids the movements of the membrame while you play some music. Your eardrums make the exact opposite movements forced by the same sounds. You can even feel these vibrations going throught the air, just turn up the beat 🎵🎉

This is also how the two cans and a wire principle works. The first can picks up the vibrations from your speech then these vibrations are going through the wire to the other can. And there they are transformed back into vibrations that your ear detects.

Now in order for the eardrum to be able to "feel" the vibrations in the air it needs air on both sides so it can freely move back and forth. And this is the reason why flying can be such a pain.

Airpressure is higher on the ground then high up in the air, infact, if you go up high enough then there is no more air and consequently also no more sound.

So when a plane goes up then you move from f.ex. higher pressure to lower pressure air, but on the inside of your the air does not change pressure that quickly. So in this case your eardrums are being pushed outside. When the plane goes down the opposite happens and your eardrums are being pushed inside.

And that can hurt!

Normally the ear regulates this pressure difference quite ok using the Eustachian's tube, but it takes time. You can however speed-up this process by swallowing, yawning or chewing as this will also open the Eustachian's tube. And that brings us to the first tip.

1) Bring chewing gum

This let's your child naturally swallow and chew and should in most cases be enough to constantly even the pressure between the inner ear and outer ear.

Bring a bottle with something to drink for your baby, this will have the same effect.

2) Monkey see, monkey do

If you don't have any gum then you can also yawn. Now the key is it should be a real yawn and the fun thing about humans is that if you see someone yawn you will also get the impuls to yawn, You can get your kids to yawn by "yawning" yourself.

3) Blow your nose

If all fails then you can also blow your nose while holding your nose and mouth closed with your hand, the build up of pressure also opens the Eustachian's tube for a moment.

4) There are drops

There are also drops that you can take, but we have never tried those, so I can't say anything about that.

Bring an empty bottle

A nice way to demonstrate the effect of different pressures to your child is to bring an empty bottle, like a small Coke bottle. When you are all the way up in the air you open the bottle for a moment to de-presurize it. Then you close the bottle and watch while going down (well maybe not watch it the whole time, that can be quite boring). And you'll notice that suddenly the bottle will collapse, because the pressure outside is so much bigger than the pressure inside the bottle.

The rest

The duration of the flight is basically a problem of boredom. And the solution is entertainment, this is different for every child and you probably already know best how to entertain your child.

Unless of course you are flying with a baby, then the solution is sleep. Try to get a babycot that hangs infront of you against the inner wall of the plane (that what devides sections in the plane). This was great when we flew with our 9 month old to Australia.

Don't be the first, be the last

One last tip I have is that even though it will feel very unnatural try to stay outside the plane as long as possible. Instead of nicely going in first when they call everybody with small kids, you wait, and you wait till you are basically the very last going in the plane.

You all have assigned seats so that is fine, you should only bring the minimal stuff inside as cabine space will be sparce.

But this way you don't have to wait for a long time in a small and hot cabine till everybody else has boarded.

Why would you ever want to do that 😁

Happy Unpacking!

Mona & Mark



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