The idea of travelling on planes with kids can be enough to make any parent break out in a cold sweat. Images of screaming children surrounded by unhappy passengers and frazzled parents just don’t fit the idea of a fun or relaxing start to your holiday.
But surely it’s possible to make it easier – even perhaps a little bit enjoyable to spend that time together? What you need is a few tricks up your sleeve to help make it easier on your kids – and you.
Dedicate a carry-on bag to activities for the kids. Things like colouring in, craft activities that aren’t too messy, stickers and stories – whatever your child loves to do. Just bring lots of it! This might be the right time to load some kids’ games and movies on your smartphone or ipad to help pass the time. Most airlines now have a choice of kids’ movies available on their inflight entertainment systems so hopefully you can all find something you want to watch for a couple of hours peace.
Any parent knows that hungry kids can turn any situation into a nightmare, and flying is no different. Pack plenty of snacks (more than you think you’ll need) and, if they’re old enough, order a meal for them. For older kids, some chewy lollies will help with ear pain during take-off and landing, and for little ones consider a breastfeed or a cup with a straw.
Flight attendants are often happy to help in small ways to make the flight easier for parents and kids. Even little things like giving the kids some pencils and a couple of paper cups to decorate can make a surprisingly big difference to your child’s mood and patience levels. And a friendly face of understanding makes the trip a bit easier for parents too.
Try to find a quiet spot at the airport before you leave and at any stopovers, to let the kids play a few games. Asking them to stay seated and still on the plane is hard enough, so to expect that at the airport as well is often unrealistic. They need to let out some energy whenever possible.
Don’t give your child too many activities at once or let them in on what activities you have in your bag. The surprise element of some new and exciting things will help keep them interested and engaged and, most importantly, in their seat.
Check out Woolworths Travel Insurance. Children and dependants under the age of 21 are covered for free when they travel with an insured adult.