Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 3:12 am | Partly Cloudy 50º


John Daly: Preventing Children’s Bad Behavior During Air Travel

Summer travel is always an adventure. Recently I settled into a flight on Delta. I cringed when a man and woman boarded and settled in with two screaming youngsters. The children looked to be under 5 years old.

I moaned as I thought of four hours of nonstop screaming and whining being hurled into my ears. It would definitely be a headphone flight.

I recalled that a 2014 Expedia survey learned that 64 percent of airline passengers believe “screaming, whiny” kids and their permissive parents were the top annoyance.

It was the No. 2 irritant behind “seat kickers,” which, if you want to get technical about it, can also involve children.

To my great relief, these children had a savvy, proactive mother. Mom pulled out a bottle of water and some Children’s Tylenol. I heard her tell her husband that their pediatrician had recommended it for pain associated with pressure created in an airplane cabin.

She also assured her husband, and everyone around her, that she had given the kids Dramamine to prevent air sickness, and that they hadn’t been given sugary snacks that would tend to make them hyper! I so appreciated her proactive attitude.

About 30 minutes into the flight, after she had let them enjoy the novelty of takeoff and being in the air, she whipped out a puzzle and worked with them to put it together. Then, she went through a variety of games, one at a time, with them.

After the refreshment service, she read a book to them. That’s right. Instead of burying her nose in a book or watching the monitor on the seatback in front of her, she engaged with her children, focusing on them and correcting each whenever one tended to get whiny or noisy.

Little children and babies do cry. Even the well-prepared parent struggles to console a travel-weary child. What other travelers often see as misbehaving or spoiled kids is really a parent who is totally unprepared to travel with young children. Not so with this parent.

I looked back about two and a half hours into the flight. Both children at the end of the book their mother had read to them were fast asleep and didn’t awaken until we landed.

I felt like giving this mother a standing ovation for her considerate behavior throughout this flight. In fact, I stood up and told her how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness in being prepared to work with her children to keep them comfortable and quiet.

She smiled and thanked me, and everyone around her joined in to let her know what a great job she’d done.

Oh, if only more parents would use her as a model.

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for good manners and job search success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy the book.  Follow John on Facebook and Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have an etiquette question? ASK John at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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