It may be winter, but a lot of us like to take long haul holidays to those tropical countries and escape the cold weather. Travelling with small children is tough. Removed from their familiar surroundings and home comforts, it’s easy for even the mildest-mannered tot to succumb to a tantrum, especially within the cramped confines of an aircraft cabin. For the sake of your sanity, and that of your fellow passengers, there are ways to prevent a mini meltdown, whether you’re just setting off on the first of your flights to Orlando, or returning from the perfect family holiday. Here are some tips for a pleasant flight.
Unless it’s a morning flight, avail yourself of every opportunity to get the kids involved in an activity before setting off on the long haul. Once you’re packed, instigate a game of football or chase. Make sure the activity is fun and involving but not too rigorous, exhaustion can lead to tantrums, but burning off excess energy will hopefully result in a nap during travel so you can get a couple of reading hours in.
Hungry, or high-on-sugar kids can be difficult to manage, either crashing from lack of energy or bouncing off the walls. The easiest way to keep on top of this while waiting in the airport or in-flight meals is to carry a few healthy snacks with you. Nuts, fruit, granola bars, typical lunchbox type snacks work best. Regular healthy foodstuffs will keep your child’s metabolism (and mood) on an even keel, which will help should the journey take longer than expected. Lamb loves cereal bars and will eat them non-stop so I stock up on these. Raisins and grapes are always in his snack box too.
You can purchase ear plugs that are made for children to reduce the air pressure in their ears on take-off and landing. These are worth investing in, and can be used for children from the age of one. If you aren’t keen on using ear plugs, chewy sweets, lollipops, or a drink is a great alternative. For infants, the best way to prevent the pain of ascent/descent is to nurse them during the change in air pressure. On our first holiday, we found Lamb sucking on his dummy prevented him from suffering too much during the flight. Obviously now he’s nearly 2 he really shouldn’t be using his dummy, but we have yet to take the plunge and remove it from his grasp…
Electronic entertainment has been made easy with the invention of the tablet. Load some of your kid’s favourite films, music and games onto their device before you leave. Audiobooks are also brilliant on planes and in airports, as they are both entertaining and relaxing, just don’t forget to pack the headphones! You don’t have to rely on electronics entirely though, pack some surprise colouring books, stickers (Lambs fave), games, toys so that when your little ones become restless you have a few absorbing surprises waiting for them.
Nobody relishes the thought of travelling with children under the age of eight, least of all their parents. Just remember to be well-organised, calm and remember that at the end of the journey you will be on holiday.
What are your top tips for travelling with kids?
You can read my pots about Lamb’s first time on a plane here.