At least when travelling by car we can make as many stops as are necessary to break the monotony of the journey, which helps make it seem shorter for children, of course this is impossible when travelling by airplane.
It is therefore advisable to be well prepared so that your child doesn’t become uncomfortable (and the rest of the passengers on the flight, who don’t really want to have to put up with a screaming child). To keep the child entertained they can play during the journey, which will make it seem much shorter.
Often the air stewards will give them games to play with. Sometimes paper cut outs or coloring books to draw in. This will help but you should also be prepared before leaving home.
You could take their favorite teddy bear: which will not only be company but will help to make the experience less strange and make them feel more relaxed. You could also take a couple of toys or perhaps a book or some comics that don’t take up too much room in your luggage, which they can play with while in their seats.
Smartphones and tablets can also be very useful; they can play video games, naturally, suitable for their age, or watch a film or some cartoons that they like.
You could also make sure that you have a window seat, from which they will enjoy watching the earth and the clouds below. If you explain to them what they are seeing as the plane passes over even better. You might even play a game with them such as “I spy”.
It is advisable to take some food and drinks along with you, this also keeps them entertained as they eat. Owing to the air conditioning in planes, the atmosphere can be very dry, so regular drinks to avoid dehydration is a good idea.
If you manage to get your child to sleep for a good part of the journey it will make it much more bearable for them. You can try to plan the flight around their routine. If your child sleeps siesta after lunch, try to plan your journey around it.
When you are on along journey, although the child doesn’t have a problem with the space they have (which can be for an adult), let them stretch their legs by walking down the aisle to break the monotony of the flight, it’s also a good time to visit the bathroom.
If the child suffers earache due to the changes in cabin pressure, give them a lollipop to suck. If it is anything more serious, there are medications available especially for this (ear drops). If they are prone to air sickness, make sure you have a few sick bags close to hand and if it happens regularly, ask your pediatrician, before leaving, if they can give you something to help. It is obviously worse during take off and landing.
Otherwise, don’t worry too much; no doubt you children will be excited about flying. Oh, and always remember that children should use a child restraining system on an airplane.