8 tips for flying with children
Flying with children can be a nightmare
Sometimes, even the thought of traveling and flying with children can be enough to make most parents think twice about taking their little angels anywhere much further than the local park, so we thought we’d try and help out with our top tips for flying with children.
We’ve all been on that plane.
You know, the one where, from the moment you walk onto the plane, to the moment you walk (more like something between a mentally-broken-crawl and a crazed-run) off it, there is a child screaming like it is in the midst of a particularly uncomfortable exorcism.
But if you are sick of missing out on holidays because your kids don’t travel well, or if you brave it anyway, but wish that, for once, you could get them to shut up for a few minutes on the flight, try out our top tips for flying with children.
Keep them occupied
While children should be able to entertain themselves through imaginative play, they are fairly restricted on a plane so can’t exactly run wild.
With this in mind, make sure you take plenty of colouring books, sticker books, stories, small toys and activities to keep them entertained. And quiet! If you’re lucky, they’ll be three or four hours deep into the flight before they realise it.
Wrap-up some toys
When someone suggested this to me, it seemed almost too easy, too obvious. But, kids love unwrapping presents.
I’m not suggesting you go out and get spend fortunes on new things to unwrap on the flight, but why not try nipping to the pound shop and picking up a couple of toy cars, or whatever, wrapping them, and then doling them out as a treat for every half an hour of being quietly well behaved?
This one’s a double-whammy, as well, they will (hopefully) behave to get their treats, and the treat itself will (hopefully) help to occupy them.
Bring a tablet
Life shouldn’t revolve around screens, but there’s an exception to every rule and journeys are a time when needs must.
If you pack a tablet, make sure you download your kids’ favourite films and shows – if ever there was a time for a Peppa Pig marathon, this is it.
Also, remember to bring earphones, because nobody else wants to hear your child’s favourite nursery rhyme, on repeat, for eight. Long. Hours. on the way to Antigua.
Finally, remember to stick the tablet on aeroplane mode before your flight takes off.
Feed them. And hope it will keep them quiet.
Aeroplane food is highly likely to make your average adult want to cry, so don’t rely on it not causing a tantrum when child is hungry, but then sees its allotted portion of nuclear fallout.
Take some food with you.
Don’t risk loads of sugary sweets, or you’ll be negating all of your careful planning to keep your child quiet, when it is sugar rushing its way round the plane for the entire flight!
Try carrot sticks and dips, humous, or something. Raisins. Apple pieces. Things like that. It will keep your kids from having a hunger tantrum, keep them from having to endure the foulness of aeroplane food, and keep you from having to endure the “I won’t eat that” tantrum, as well.
Download apps and games
Before you leave for your flight, make sure your tablets and phones are filled to the brim with child-friendly apps and games. Install their favourites, the ones that you know can keep them diverted for hours. Give some new ones a try too, you might just find a journey-saving gem in there.
Remember to test the games and apps you have, before you fly, to make sure they can be played offline.
Here’s a convenient list of good apps and games to give a go.
Distract them at take-off and landing
When the pressure in the cabin changes as the plane takes off, it can cause considerable discomfort for young ears. If you’re flying with a young baby, use a bottle, or breastfeed, to distract them and encourage them to swallow.
Make sure you keep very young children close to your body, giving them plenty of hugs to counteract the strange sensation of flying for the first time.
If you’re flying with older children, try using hard-boiled sweets; sucking on sweets will encourage them to swallow and stop their ears from popping. It might even distract them for long enough to realise that they might be scared.
Pull-ups for children in potty training
If you have a child who is in the process of being potty trained, stick to pull-ups for the flight itself, to avoid any accidents. It can be a nightmare trying to deal with potty training on a long flight. With queues for the toilet, limited space once you’re in there, and the seatbelt warning sign taking no prisoners – regardless of whether your kid needs the loo at that point in time, or not.
By using pull-ups during the flight, you remove stress for both you and your kid.
Prepare medicine in advance
Even when you’re not on a plane, I imagine there are few things that are worse than being the recipient of a face, shoulder, or indeed, any appendage full of child sick. But on a plane, this must be multiplied even more.
Be ready for the upset stomachs and any other ailments that your kids might develop mid-flight, and come prepared. Pack sick bags, with a spare set of clothes in, just in case. To help to avoid needing the sick bags, bring Calpol or something similar, just make sure it doesn’t exceed 100ml in your hand luggage.
Remember, if you’re travelling in the EU, bring your European Health Insurance Card – find out more here.
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