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Old 10-19-2012, 10:45 PM
Location: San Antonio, Texas
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From Texas to Germany, most likely. What's your advice on how to fly with 4 pre-teens? Two 9-years-olds and two 7-year-olds. How would one make the flight the best possible for the kids? Activities/stuff to do on board the flights, but mostimportantly, how to make the kids handle jet lag? What's the best idea for them?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:12 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Jet lag? Are you staying awhile? or do they need to be 100% the first couple days?

Basically, I get mine tired so they sleep on the plane (or drug 'em) BUT WHATEVER you do you immediately get on local schedule and STICK with it. Couple SHORT naps during the day are OK... BUT NEVER a nap in bed or on couch. SHORT !!!

Eastbound is tough, but doable... (just came from China today16hrs from departure to home (been 'generally awake' for 28 hrs now), I do it at least 1/month, but often more.) Kids would come with me when they were home, cuz we home-schooled and they HAD too !

My kids did fine, if I did fine. Don't make ANY issue out of it, and take a lot of fun time for them.

Kids do MUCH better than parents.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:23 AM
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Accept the fact that on a flight from Texas to Germany the kids will have phases of boredom.
Some well timed Dramamine will probably have em sleeping for at least 8 hours, a few books and video games will keep them busy a little longer and the plane will probably have some form of video entertainment.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:50 PM
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We have flown countless times to Europe with the kids. When they were younger I did give them benedryl on the overnight flights. Most airlines now have individual Tv in the seats so now my kids use them. When u get to Germany I would let them take a short nap for about 2 hours, then get them up for the rest of the day
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:13 PM
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I would never give my kids Benadryl on a flight. Sometimes it has a reverse effect--who wants a couple of hyper-active seven years olds while they are trying to sleep?--and what if they had a reaction at 30,000 feet over the ocean?

Instead start getting them up a few minutes earlier progressively each day for a couple of weeks before your trip so they are already two hours towards the earlier time zone and will be ready to sleep right after dinner on the flight.

Better yet, feed them a full meal with a lot of complex carbs right shortly before boarding.

I'm guessing you're taking the non-stop on UA HOU to FRA? It's roughly a 10 hour flight. They'll will begin meal service about 30 minutes into the flight, but depending on where you are in the cabin it could easily be 75 minutes after take off before you get your meals. This is why I'm suggesting skipping the airline meal and boarding with a full belly. If you are on the 6:40 you might not get your meals until after 8:00 pm. If you've gotten the kids onto a schedule where they wake up around 4:30 that morning, they could be sleeping by then. (If you are on the earlier flight, eat on board, but be aware that portions aren't terribly large and you might want to bring along some snacks.)

They usually start to turn the lights on about an hour before arrival. Have everyone wake up and use the bathroom quickly--there will be a line.

When you arrive, resist the urge to nap, just keep going until around 8:00 that night, then get a good nights sleep and start fresh the next day. This will get you onto the right time zone without jet lag.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:33 AM
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Teach your kids to respect the space around them. Don't allow them to kick the seat in front of them. Don't allow them to pull the headrest of the seat in front of them as they are getting up. Don't allow them to stick their feet into the seat in front of them. Don't allow them to yell and scream while you seat there and do NOTHING.

I fly a lot and these are things that parents have allowed their children to do. There is no need to drug your children, drugs in flight will effect them much differently than on land and you don't want cusoms or immigration questioning you about your child's state of stupor.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:01 AM
Location: New Zealand
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Our son is 5 years old now and he's been to Europe 4 times now and once to Asia. We usually fly British Airways (o Europe) or Emirates (to Asia) -- they have individual screens for each seat (with individual movie/TV libraries), so he's occupied with movies and cartoons. We also bring a few books and coloring stuff when he doesn't want to keep staring at the screen. We don't make him go to sleep, but he does usually fall asleep on his own for a few hours.

As mentioned above, the trick is to not sleep once you arrive in Europe. Wash up/shower, go out, see some sights (keep it relaxed, no schedule). Go to bed at a normal time -- you should wake up the next morning adjusted. Although with kids it might take the second morning to get completely adjusted.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:09 AM
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
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Get them physically tired before the trip, if you can. And if you have a layover, find a place where they can work off some steam between flights.

I agree about the jet lag--have a brief nap once you get settled at your destination, but then get up, get out and walk, and start adjusting to the time change.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:25 PM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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To combat jet lag, stay hydrated, and actively drink water or juice on the plane. Before you leave, have them go to bed earlier and earlier for a few nights, so that they are already beginning to adjust when you are setting out on the trip. Do try to get some sleep on the plane, but then have a couple of easy sightseeing spots, dinner, and bed at a reasonable time.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 10-26-2012, 09:58 PM
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7 and 9 year old are old enough to know the rules. Don't be a bother to others. That said there is the video system onboard, books and have them try to sleep if possible. No drugs. I'm one who all the medications that supposedly make you drowsy just make me wired. Time your arrival so you get to the hotels after noon. If you arrive at the airport at 10 am it will probably take you until 12 or 1 to reach the hotel. 3 times to Europe and I've never had a room not available to get a nap in before going out. Early to bed the first day. Seriously the jet lag is on the return flight.
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