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How do I help my kids behave better on an airplane?
Sitting still in one seat for a long time feels like a punishment to some kids. You can help them feel more relaxed on an airplane by going into the situation prepared.

1. Stock a carry-on bag with with bottled water and snacks for your kids so you won't have to wait for service on the plane. (Avoid anything loaded with sugar or caffeine.)

2. Help your kids choose carry-on items that'll keep them entertained--a stereo with headphones, handheld video games, mazes, crossword puzzles, books. (Make sure they turn off electronic devices if the captain or flight attendant makes an announcement to do so.)

3. Get your children to exercise a little before your flight. Wear them out a little by having them walk with you from the parking garage to the terminal. Take stairs instead of escalators if it's practical.

4. If you have a choice, choose your seats wisely. Most kids enjoy window seats, but some kids will feel nauseous looking out the window. Aisle seats have an advantage too, because they allow easier access to the bathrooms. The front seats in any section will give your kids more leg room and keep them from kicking the back of another passenger's seat.

5. Have everyone pay a visit to one of the restrooms in the airport before you board your plane (allow enough time to do this without having to rush). Often there's a wait to use the restrooms once you're on the plane. Kids can also get lost trying to find the bathroom on your flight, get confused trying to use it, and get in the way of the flight attendants and their carts.

Pack small, wrapped surprises, such as things they can use on the spot--coloring books, word searches, a book to read--anything age-appropriate. Depending on the length of the flight, you can hand out one every hour. The kids will start asking when the next present is coming rather than when the flight will be over. This works great for overseas trips.

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