Sometimes the kids have to fly alone. Maybe because it’s too expensive for the parents to fly a round trip to drop off the kids with grandma, or maybe there’s an emergency where the parents have to put the child on the plane by themselves. Regardless, there are times when the kids have to fly by themselves.
Fortunately, the airlines recognize that this situation happens, and they do try to assist the parents as best they can. Most airlines will assign a flight attendant to the child, and that person will make sure the child is comfortable on the flight, makes his connection to the next flight, and will hand the child off to the responsible adult at his destination.
If you need to send the child on his way, think ahead. Don’t saddle the kid with carry on baggage that weighs as much as he does. Try to pack light, with perhaps just a backpack containing a change of clothes and some favorite books and toys. Don’t forget medications and contact information, either. The child shouldn’t have to remember the name, address, and phone number of the relative he’s going to visit; he should be able to just hand over a sheet of paper with all of that information.
Think about security, too. You might want to establish a code word, a secret password that only the relative on the far end will know. Besides the obvious—“yes, this is the right grown-up”—the code word will also help to comfort the child, as a link to his parents (“My parents really did talk to them and give them the secret word, that means they know where I am and everything is going to be okay.”).
Most of all, reassure the child that they will make it to their destination safe and sound, and return home when the trip is done.