Going away with the family is something we all look forward to, a chance to have some fun in the sun and escape the day to day routine. But travelling with young kids can be stressful too, especially if travelling by air. Time spent in a confined space is difficult for kids so it’s important to plan ahead to try and make the journey as smooth as possible.
So here are some tips to keep the kids happy and ensure your holiday gets off to a good start (and end):
Flying is cool! – As adults we tend to focus on the negatives of flying (airports, airline food, jetlag, etc.), but for children it’s one of the most exciting things they can do. So get them to look out the window at the small houses and clouds, play role games where they’re the pilot or flight attendant, or even get them to count the passengers on the plane. Use the surroundings as a positive to keep them entertained.
Cuddly Toys – When nothing seems to be working, the tried and trusted cuddly toy usually comes to the rescue. Before travelling, buy two of the same toy as there’s a good chance one will get lost in transit. So if the worst does happen, you’ve a ready-made replacement in your bag and the mother of all tantrums is averted.
Check-In early – When you fly you will want the whole family sitting together (unless you’re hoping that some complete strangers will babysit your kids), so be sure to check-in online as soon as it opens.
Choosing flight times – Of course this isn’t always possible, but try and book flight times to coincide with when your kids are meant to be falling asleep. If they’re tired and its bedtime at home, then with a bit of luck they’ll drop off for the duration of the flight.
Feed them at take-off and landing – If you have an infant or infants as part of the brood then give them their bottle at take-off and landing. As they have to be belted-in this will prove a welcome distraction, and it also helps equalise pressure in their ears. However, a word of caution: as it’s liquid check beforehand you can carry it on with you.
Pack the Snacks – We all know that airline food can be hit or miss (not to mention slow in arriving), so make sure to take plenty of snacks on board to keep the kids happy. The same goes for drinks to keep them hydrated, but remember the rules on liquids – 100ml max. in a resalable plastic bag. Stock up when airside and avoid buying on-board at inflated prices.
Keep them comfy – Impractical clothing will only make them more uncomfortable so get them dressed up in soft, roomy layers that you can easily remove/put on again as the temperature inside the plane fluctuates. And a favourite pillow will let them snuggle up in the seat and drift off easily.
Get creative – We all know a bored child is a recipe for disaster so come armed with all the colouring books, colour pencils, travel games and books you can fit into your hand luggage. Then sit back and relax as they entertain themselves for a few hours (well, at least one!).