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Old 04-08-2014, 11:49 PM
RV10Rob's Avatar
RV10Rob RV10Rob is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA
Posts: 533
Default Getting my toddler more comfortable flying

I?m looking for some tips to get my 22-month-old toddler more comfortable flying. He won?t stop talking about airplanes and loves going to the airport, but as soon as I put him in the seat and put the headset on, he basically shuts down: faces directly forward, doesn?t move, doesn?t talk much?even drools a little.

Up until last summer, he was a great passenger, riding rear-facing in the back seat w/ my wife. We did a 33-hour cross-country trip and another 8-hour round trip with no issues.

After that, my wife stopped flying due to pregnancy, so he stopped flying, too. So he didn't fly at all for 6 months, and now he's in the front seat and facing forward. Everything else is the same (same headset, same carseat, same airplane). He's pretty timid in general, so if it's like a few other things (e.g. swimming lessons, music class), I figure it'll just take him a while to warm up. A few things I'm planning on doing:
  1. More time sitting in the seat, in the airplane, getting comfortable.
  2. More taxiing and flights
  3. Try wearing the headset for short periods at home
  4. Some time forward facing in the car (he's still rear facing)
  5. Possibly trying him rear facing in the front seat of the airplane (the carseat actually fits that way)
Any suggestions for other things to try? Thanks...

Rob Kochman
RV-10, Flying as of March 2011 (blog)
Paine Field (KPAE)
EAA Chapter 1440
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:34 AM
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NovaBandit NovaBandit is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Hastings, MN
Posts: 583

No suggestions, but I'm curious to hear what you come up with!

I've got a 3 month old boy at home, and I'd really like to get him acclimated to flying so he's comfortable. Family trips all across the country is why I'm building the -10!
Ed Kranz
RV-10 N829EC - Flying
First Flight: 8/29/15
KSGS - Fleming Field, South Saint Paul, Minnesota
-- Build Timelapse and Travel Videos . . -- Build and Travel Blog
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:46 AM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 15,708

Originally Posted by RV10Rob View Post
as soon as I put him in the seat and put the headset on, he basically shuts down:
Well, you know what is triggering it, now you need to figure out why, and how to mitigate it.

Does he have a history of ear problems or infections??
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:03 PM
RV10Rob's Avatar
RV10Rob RV10Rob is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA
Posts: 533

Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
Does he have a history of ear problems or infections??
No, this happens on the ground, so I don't think it has anything to do with altitude. Previously we've flown up to 10k for short periods with no issues.
Rob Kochman
RV-10, Flying as of March 2011 (blog)
Paine Field (KPAE)
EAA Chapter 1440
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:00 PM
PJSeipel PJSeipel is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Albany, GA for the moment
Posts: 294

You might try a different headset. It could also be that with the headset on, he can no longer hear what's going on around him and he's focusing on the lack of sensory perception. They change a lot at that age and something he didn't notice months ago might bother him now.

PJ Seipel
RV-10 #40032
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:12 PM
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pitts flyer pitts flyer is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 57

I have flown several times now with my grandson, and he does the same thing--looks like he is concentrating on all the sensory input. I wouldn't worry about it. I just ask once in a while if everything is OK, and he always responds yes (but quite quietly). And, he is always ready to go again....

Dave M
RV-4 finished.

Last edited by pitts flyer : 04-09-2014 at 01:27 PM. Reason: add pic
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:49 PM
AaronG AaronG is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hartford, CT
Posts: 104

Put him in back seat, and get a portable car DVD player and hang from the front seat. Let him watch videos. Keeps my 3 girls happy in the back seat.

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Old 04-09-2014, 07:40 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,372

I have a 3 year old who enjoys flying. I install pads under his booster seat so he can see out of the airplane, then I encourage him to look out the windows and talk with him about what he's seeing. He really seems to enjoy it.

"Alex, do you see the airplane over there?"

"Yes, Daddy".

"OK, there are a lot of other airplanes up here too, so let me know if you see one."

"Alex, look out your window. Do you see the sailboat on the lake?"...

Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:37 PM
sproudly sproudly is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 7

It does sound like sensory overload - front seat, front facing, headset, strange voices in his ears, and sudden view access to an array of lights, switches, and screens. Not to mention the excitement of flight.

Each one of those things was pretty big deal to my daughter, taken individually. She hasn't worn a real headset yet, or sat in the front seat of the plane. She has been in the front seat of the car for short rides at home.

This may be outside the comfort zone for some, but my wife has sat in the back with the toddler and taken her out of the carseat and let her move about in the back where she can see out both sides, see the panel, and get a good overview of where she is and what is happening.

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Old 04-10-2014, 02:08 AM
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aarvig aarvig is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: KANE, Hugo, Minnesota
Posts: 765
Default Just my two cents...

Personally, I think you are pushing to hard. If you try to force something on him and he isn't liking it...he probably isn't ever going to like it no matter how much you want him to.
I had the same issue with one of my sons. The oldest (now 7) was flying with me from about 3 on. At age 5 I gave him the yoke and he could hold altitude and follow ground reference. My other son (now 5) I tried the same thing with. At first it was cool then he clammed up and didn't like it anymore. No problem. I started leaving him home and didn't force the issue. But just last week he said, DAD...I WANNA GO FLYING AGAIN!
So, I took him and guess what...he's driving it all over the sky too. My point, don't force it or he will hate it. Just let it happen naturally. Ask permission to take him with. He knows yes or no? Put him in the drivers seat literally. Even if he says no for now, he will eventually come around if he sees dad flying all the time. Good luck to you! Flying with your kids is the best so I totally understand your eagerness.
Aaron Arvig
Empennage Done
Wings-In Progress
N568AK Reserved
SOLD?but I'll be back
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