Parents of toddlers know that flying with their tantrum-prone tykes is about as stressful as herding a whole class of teenagers through airport security into an airplane. As the holidays and travel season draws near, Skyscanner,the leading travel search site provider,shares the top tips for flying withyoung children.
Invest in a Trunki
Instead of struggling with those cumbersomestrollers, invest in a Trunki when your child is old enough to walk by himself.These cute pack, ride-on, and pull-along suitcases for kids may seem a little overpriced, but Trunkis are a total lifesaver for entertaining your little ones when you’re in long queues, as well as saving tired little legs if your walk to the departure gate is a long one.
Try to plan your flight in 15 minute slots
For a three-hour journey, for example, you need around 10 activities to keep young kids entertained (as the first and last 15 minutes you can occupy them by looking out the window for take-off and landing). A child magazine, a favorite story and drawing book, pens and crayons, snacks, stickers, favorite toys, etc. – are all good activities to keep them entertained. It is unlikely you will need all ten in a three-hour flight (especially if you manage to get them to sleep), but better to have too many than too few.
Get a portable DVD player or a laptop
Without doubt the one thing all parents seem to agree on is investing in a portable DVD player – or taking your laptop or iPad with you on the flight. Cartoons and movies while away a sizeable chunk of the flight and allow parents some downtime too.
Present your child with presents
Wrap up small toys that you can present to your child as a reward for being good every half hour or so (include these in your 10 activities). Presents don’t have to be expensive and can even be your child’s old forgotten about toy. Small stuffedtoy animals are ideal, as are little wind-up toys that can travel across the fold down table.
Get some kids’ games or apps for your smart phone or laptop
Download some kids’ games – or kid-friendly apps to your mobile, tablet or laptop (if it can be switched to Airplane mode for the flight).
Get sticking with stickers
Stickers are great for keeping children entertained for a while – just give them an empty water bottle to decorate. You can also use colourful Post-its and play a game of sticking it on body parts you name; this can provide a tremendous amount of funfor your toddler.
Take a pillow
Small children can sit on a pillow so they can see out of the window better, while older children may find sleeping more comfortable with a pillow. A blanket is also good as its familiarity will comfort your child as well as keep them warm if it gets chilly on-board.
Take some sweets
Landing can cause painful ears – babies are often given a bottle to encourage them to suck and therefore swallow. The same principle will work if you give your child a lollipop (ideally sugar free) for take-off and landing which will also distract them.
Bring longer lasting foods
Offer foods that take longer to eat which will occupy your child for longer. A box of raisins is great as it has natural sugars – while sweets are a great bribe,be warned though: trying to keep a child in their seat once they have eaten an excessive amount of sugar can present a challenge.
Watch out for the ‘Airplane Police’!
A clever trick is to warn young children of the “Airplane Police” who are looking out for badly behaved children as they are not allowed to fly. It proves to be hugely effective in stopping toddlersfrom climbing over seats, playing with the fold down table, kicking the seat in front and all the other things that passengers around you will really love.
Follow a one-to-one rule
Limit your carry-on to just one bag per person, the half a person – your toddler, is not included in this rule. That means youwill have to share a carry-on luggage with your little one. Remember to pack light and bring only what you absolutely need on the plane,this makes it easier for you to find items you need in a jiff. And if you are going on a much longer flight, don’t be cheap! Get your child his own seat so both of you can stay comfortable on the long haul trip.Also, keeping your child strapped down on his own seat when he’s had too much sugar––and not hold him for hours on end as he wiggles and kicks––will keep you both sane.