5 Tips for Taking Your Child on a Plane
When you travel on your own or as a couple, making your way through all the different airport processes and then relaxing on a flight is a piece of cake. Once you have a child however, the idea of going abroad with them could become quite daunting.
After you finally make it through the airport, it’s time to actually make the journey to your destination of choice. When you do board a plane with a child either in your arms or walking in front of you, many passengers are going to give you “that look”, as they unfortunately won’t think your children are as cute as you do, especially not if they start crying when sat close to them.
With the summer holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start planning your trip in order for you to keep the peace with both your children and the other passengers when the time finally does come to board the plane:
Travelling is stressful enough as it is without the added worry of delays and last minute changes. Allow plenty of time to get to the airport and take any potential traffic into consideration. Book your parking in advance and make sure you know how to get to the right terminal from the car park in advance.
Where possible try and book the first flight of the day, as this will help to avoid any potential missed connections and further delays. If you have a small child then choose a direct flight where possible, but with slightly older kids a small layover will give them the chance to expend some energy and stretch their legs.
If you know your children aren’t great on planes, then the best idea could be to book an overnight flight, so they are ready to sleep after a long day of activities. Knowing you have enough extra time for set backs and mishaps will make the whole event much less stressful for the whole family.
Keep Them Full
The likelihood is that your child is not going to eat the vegetarian lasagne or beef and vegetables supplied as a meal on the plane; even if they do have sandwiches or snacks, they tend to have been eaten by the time the trolley gets round to you. Taking snacks with you is crucial when it comes to keeping your kids happy, as everything seems worse when you’re hungry.
Plane rides can be very dehydrating, so bring plenty of water and juice too. If your child is still very little, then you are allowed to bring jars of baby food and formula for bottle-feeding on board. You are best bringing snacks that won’t melt or crumble and will leave you as clean and mess free as possible by the time you land.
Activities For Hours
When your children are travelling, they won’t just need entertaining on the plane, but also at the airport, as often travellers have to wait hours after checking in before they can board the plane. If you have a very small child and are travelling with other people, then it can be just as good an idea to leave your bags with them and just gently walk around the terminal.
On the plane make sure you bring a tablet or laptop containing some pre-loaded films and television shows that you know they will like. It can also be a great idea to bring new books or games so that the novelty or their other toys doesn’t wear off half way through the flight.
One key thing to remember is to charge any electronics you are bringing with you for entertainment purposes in case the plane you travel on doesn’t have plugs – the last thing you want is for a successful distraction to turn off just an hour into the flight.
Keep Familiar Items Close
When you are trying to calm down an unhappy child, one of the most successful things you can do is to give them a familiar blanket or cuddly toy. Bring a couple for back up too, as the last thing you want is to realise that your child’s favourite toy is still sat in the airport having been forgotten during the rush to get on the plane.
If your child doesn’t have a favourite toy, then bring something that will keep them as comfortable as possible and remind them of home, such a blanket from their cot or a pillow from your bed.
It can be very easy to misplace things when travelling, so try and choose toys and blankets that can be tethered to your bag or tied around your wrist, that way you won’t be scrambling under the seat in front every five minutes trying to retrieve a stuffed animal.
Lets be honest, a sleeping child is usually a quiet and happy child. If you can schedule the flight for the evening as mentioned before, then this will be great for their biological clock and help them sleep more easily.
If your flight is during the day, then do your best in the hours leading up to it to wear them out, either in the airport’s play area or through a range of different activities. Once you are on the plane, if you have an excited child or baby that’s getting agitated, then sometimes it just takes a few walks up and down the aisle to calm them down.
If you do manage to get your child to sleep, then make sure you try and have a nap at the same time, as it is always good to recharge your batteries at any opportunity when travelling with children.