8 tips for flying with children
Just the thought of flying with children can be enough to turn the majority of us off jetting away on holiday. We’ve all seen it, the shrieking child, the mortified parent and a plane full of crabby passengers. What could be worse?
Well firstly, a lot could be worse. Secondly, I’m here to say, don’t worry about the people who gripe over a minor temper tantrum. Ok, so it’s not so easy to ignore the ‘tuts’ and ‘sighs’. But here’s how to make your life that little bit easier, with these 8 tips for flying with children.
1. Plan your activities
99% of the time, and that’s being generous, your child will feel one of three things whilst flying. Bored, hungry or tired. If you’re really lucky possibly all three (I hope you sense my sarcasm).
Mary Porter, mother of one two-year-old regular flyer, recommends planning your flight in 15-minute time slots. Every 15 minutes have another activity in place to occupy your little cherub. Whether that be a magazine or a sticker book. Rotate activities at regular intervals and you might just keep their attention long enough for them to not even notice three hours have passed. That’s what I call successful parenting!
2. Wrap up toys
If there’s one thing kids love, it’s unwrapping presents. For every half hour to an hour passed that your child behaves well, present them with a wrapped gift. This doesn’t have to be anything pricey. In fact, I suggest you head down to Poundland ahead of time and stock up on small treats. Toy cars, pens and paper, anything you can find that will keep the attention of your little one for an additional 15 minutes.
3. Bring a tablet
How we ever endured long-haul, kid-infested flights, without these amazing pieces of technology, I will never know. Ask any parent and they’ll agree, a tablet is a necessity if you want to keep your kid occupied for longer periods of time. Blogger Monica from thetravelhack.com says: “Most parents start off with good intentions when it comes to screen time for their little ones but you're definitely allowed to let your standards slip during a flight!”
Start by downloading your children’s favourite TV programmes, movies, music and games (we’ll get to this later), and you might be able to get just enough down time to enjoy your in-flight meal. To save other passengers from having to listen to “I’m a little teapot” on repeat for 20. LONG. MINUTES. Please, bring headphones with you. Finally, always remember to switch electronic devices, like tablets, to airplane mode prior to take-off.
4. Prepare snacks
In-flight meals leave little to the imagination and will probably not satisfy a hungry, tired and needy child for the duration of your flight. Likewise, I wouldn’t suggest filling them with sugary sweets, as the sheer hell you will endure attempting to keep them sitting still, in the confinement of their seat, would be an utter nightmare. So, stock up on small fruit snacks that won’t go bad, like raisins and grapes. Why not bring carrot sticks and dip? Foods that require concentration will keep your little one focused and content for much longer.
5. Download apps/games
Before you fly, stock up on apps and kid-friendly games for your mobile or tablet. The best practice here is to install some family favourites you know will keep the kiddies entertained for a certain period of time. Plus, try installing new games that could pique your child’s interest. Remember to test the game to make sure it doesn’t require an internet connection before boarding the plane.
Check out these best kids’ apps to download before a flight.
If you don’t have access to a smartphone or tablet, then why not bring pens and paper and play noughts and crosses? You can’t go far wrong with a game of eye spy, although I’m not sure how long it will last in the confinement of an aircraft. Sticker books are another great form of entertainment for little ones too, but be prepared to spend half the flight peeling them off the seat in front!
6. Distract uncomfortable ears
Setting off and landing can be extremely uncomfortable for little ears. If you’re flying with a baby use a bottle or breastfeed to distract them and encourage them to swallow. Make sure you keep them close to your body, giving plenty of hugs to help them settle into the strange sensation of flying. If you’re flying with older children, then use hard boiled sweets. Yes, I said sweets. Sucking on sweets will encourage them to swallow and keep their ears from popping, it may also distract them long enough to not realise what may be a potentially scary situation for them.
7. Pull ups for children potty training
If your little one is currently being potty trained, don’t run the risk of any accidents happening and stick to pull-ups for the duration of your flight. Planes are the worst place for a child who is still potty training. With long queues to get them to the restroom, not to mention the dreaded seatbelt warning sign. It isn’t worth the stress for you, or your little one, worrying about getting to the toilet in time. Put your toddler in pull ups for the duration of the flight to make the experience a more enjoyable one for the both of you.
8. Have medicine prepared
What could be worse than your child getting sick whilst flying? Be ready for upset stomachs and come prepared. Pack sick bags and a spare set of clothes in case of any accidents. To avoid any mishaps, bring onboard an emergency stash of Calpol, but make sure it doesn’t exceed 100ml in your hand luggage.
Remember, if you’re travelling in Europe, bring your European Health Insurance Card with you, you can find out more about EHIC here.
Parking your car at the airport with children doesn’t need to be a struggle
Parking your car with kids couldn’t be easier with our meet and greet service. Simply drive your car to the terminal, where one of our friendly and professional Help Me Park drivers will meet you and help unload your car. Simply hand your keys to the driver and rest assured your car is safe as we drive it away to be homed in one of our secure Park Mark accredited car parks, ready for your return. What’s more, upon your return, simply give us a call at baggage handling and our driver will drop your car back off for you, right outside the terminal.