Go with the flow ... tips for flying with children
If you have a holiday abroad booked this year you might be concerned about how you will keep toddlers and young children entertained (realistically restrained) on the flight and during your foreign travels.
While I am no expert on travel or children here are a few tried, tested and recommended tips to help you get to the other side with some of your sanity intact!
1. Book your seats in advance. I know it is extra money, but I just don’t think the gamble is worth it, if your kids are dispersed across the plane or you are left alone with the crazies while your partner kicks back with a book, your blood pressure may explode …
2. Get to the airport early. You do not want to be stressing and pushing a stroller and bags around an airport with a screaming child trying to find your gate number. Check in online so you can just drop off your bags, slide through security and spend your time trying to avoid the souvenir shops with kids.
3. Don’t be the first on the plane. Most airlines like to get families on board first but once you take your seats you are pretty much bound, except for an odd trip to the toilet. Enjoy and use the space in the airport to wear young children out.
4. Pack a bag for each child for the flight. This bag should include snacks, favourite books/ toys and a few new bits to keep them occupied. Stickers or small activity books are great. Don’t take everything out at once, milk every item to the last … remember you will have a return flight to endure!
5. Snacks. Children adore snacks, well at least mine do! Bring plenty of their favourite snacks to keep them going and let today’s fight about eating vegetables take a rest. My children also love when we order food on the plane, so depending on your flight times it is also something to help whittle down the minutes on board!
6. Load up the ipad. While I am usually quite strict on screen time, travelling can be tough without a tablet. I do try and get some time out of books and toys before I bring out the big gun; as I find watching a screen for a prolonged time makes children a bit ratty. Download games, TV shows, movies, music etc and remember to bring headphones!
7. Always have a spare set of clothes. It is not just babies who can throw up, spill or have accidents, big ones do it too (and adults!) so be prepared and pack a spare set of clothes for everyone in your carry on. They also are a fail safe in case your checked in luggage disappears at the other side of the world …
8. Comfort. You might have the cutest clothes lined up for your photos in the airport but the most important thing is comfort. If you are flying in the evening or in the morning have the kids in their pyjamas. Also wear layers, sometimes the cabin can turn from cold to hot in minutes, layer it up! Bring a blanket for babies who may (but probably will not) sleep during the flight.
9. Sweets for take off. We use lollipops for the four-year-old during take off and even landing, it keeps her jaws moving to help her ears pop. A dummy or bottle can work for babies and chewy sweets for older children/ adults.
10. Go with the flow. You can only try to predict and organise yourself to a limit. Accept before you leave the house that not everything will go to plan. Keep the kids, your passports, money and phone close by and let the rest slide by.
I honestly believe if children sense stress they act up, so keep your spirits high and get into holiday mode. Enjoy!