With this trick, your next family flight should be smooth soaring.

We all cherish our childhood memories of family trips — but as every parent knows, traveling with toddlers is no easy feat. Between forgotten stuffed animals and uncomfortable cabin pressure (not to mention lengthy flights), traveling with young kids can be tough for even the world’s best mom or dad.

At Sears Travel, we understand that struggle. That’s why we consulted some jet-setting parents and came up with this #1 tip for corralling your kids before that big flight.

So What’s Our Secret?

Like many parents, you probably take full advantage of the opportunity to pre-board. While that might make it a little easier to get to your seat, it also means your kids will have to endure an extra half hour of sitting still, giving crankiness and boredom an opportunity to set in before the plane has even left the ground.

Instead, put this tried-and-true tactic to the test: wait until the last minute to board. Yes, it might be a little harder to find a space to store overhead luggage, but it also means your kids will have as much time as possible to run around before takeoff. If you’re lucky, that means they’ll spend the majority of the flight indulging in naptime, rather than playing in the aisles.

So, rather than letting your child play on their iPad prior to takeoff, make up a fun game you can play in the terminal to help tire them out. Once they’re on the plane, feel free to let them plug in — but before takeoff, it’s important that they stay active.

Bonus tip: pack two surprise items in your kids’ backpacks that they can find once the plane takes off. If you’re particularly worried about keeping them well-behaved, wrap the surprises and make them a reward for minding their in-flight manners.

Bonus Family Flying Tips

Of course, regardless of how much you tucker them out, sitting still on a multi-hour flight might still be a challenge for your kids. With that in mind, here are three more helpful pointers for your next family vacation:

1. Plan Out In-Flight Activities

Your child’s mood might be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean your flight plan has to be. Try planning out the flight in 15-20 minute segments, with a different activity for each time slot. That way, the trip will fly by for your kids (and for you)!

2. Download Games and Films Pre-Flight

When it comes to distracting kids on a flight, nothing can beat a trusty tablet. Although plenty of planes come equipped with WiFi these days, it’s always best to pre-download some in-flight options, in case connecting to the internet isn’t an option. That way, the kids stay plugged in, and you have a chance to watch some TV on your own.

3. Book Your Flight With Sears Travel

Traveling with kids isn’t cheap. At Sears Travel, we’re committed to helping families travel on a budget — no strings attached! Between our family-friendly vacation packages and our Travel Bucks, we’ll help you save big on airfare and hotel bookings so you can spend a little more on treats for the kids. No matter where you want to go, we can help you book your dream vacation.