How To Prepare For Long Haul Flights With Kids
Booking those plane tickets, packing our bags and entering that plane are feelings that can’t be put into simple words. Our upcoming adventure awaits and we are more than ready to step out of our ordinary routine and experience something new. As a person travelling by themselves or a couple who can look out and take care of each other, the steps needed before and while on a plane are reasonably simple. If you are someone who has their family to think about, especially small kids, you’re planning becomes much more in-depth than before.
For many us, when we think about kids on a plane, our mind immediately goes to screaming or yelling. However, although this is not something we can always manage, there are ways we can soften the load and make it easier not only on us but also on the kids.
Firstly, get yourself organized. Make sure you have everything you need to give yourself the opportunity to have a good flight. Things like an eye mask, earplugs, extra blanket, a book and even some of your favourite snacks to treat yourself on this crazy ride will help you immensely. This should additionally include all of your paperwork for you and the kids. Having this all completed prior to your flight will allow you to be a little less stressed throughout it all.
Now on to the kids.
Get The Kids Involved With Mini Backpacks!
Many parents have found that getting kids involved in the packing process has allowed for the kids to be excited, as well as understand what is going into getting them ready for the flight. More specifically, you can even allow them to pack their own small backpacks which they can carry around themselves. This provides them with the opportunity to be responsible and take care of their own things while flying and gives you less luggage to lug around. You can find many cute smaller backpack options online and in stores.
Flights And Seating
While choosing your flights parents have suggested trying to stick with flight times that coincide with your child’s sleep schedule. This means either purely travelling overnight where your child can sleep throughout the flight or picking flight times where your child is able to nap peacefully. Stopovers are always great for the kids to get refreshed, take out any excess energy that they may have and get re-excited about what’s coming next. Once you have arranged your flight you can work on picking good seating. Most parents opt for bulkhead seats where there is enough room for the kids to play when they need to, as well as a bassinet option for younger kids to sleep in. If this isn’t an option, try to pick aisle seats for your convenience or window seats to keep them entertained.
Stroller To Gate
Although strollers can be placed under the plane in check-in, many parents decide to take their stroller all the way to the gate. This works really well for delayed flights and unknown waiting times. Kids can sit or sleep in a familiar place which can provide them with a sense of comfort that they may need at this time.
What sounds like a funny concept could in fact be something that works perfectly for your kids. Airport runs means taking a little adventure run or walk with your kids to release some energy out of them before the flight. You can take turns with your partner and go for a little look around the airport and discover some unfamiliar things. If you are battling this trip solo, you can take a walk around before sitting down and getting comfortable. Whatever gets the kids moving a little bit more before sitting for a long time will be extremely beneficial.
Keeping Those Ears Happy
One of the more daunting aspects of flying with kids is making sure they don’t have any ear troubles. The best way to do this is to encourage snacks or lollipops to be eaten, or you can offer a pacifier for younger kids, throughout take-off and landing as the motion of eating can help the Eustachian tube. Making sure your child isn’t congested and keeping them awake for take-off and landing are equally helpful in ear happiness. If worst comes to worst, take child ibuprofen or acetaminophen half an hour before the flight.
It can be an understatement to say that flights are just a little bit cold. Many rely on airplane blankets to keep them warm but often find these aren’t always the most efficient options. Packing not only extra clothes but some fresh clothes for between transit flights will be incredibly helpful and a lot less smelly. Extra clothes like sweaters, sweatpants, beanies, socks and of course blankets will be of great use. You can also look to bring your own wet wipes or pull-ups to provide you with alternate options when it comes to cleaning and keeping your child fresh.
Airplane food is great, but it can be incredibly inconsistent especially with kids who want to eat right now! Bringing snacks is not only important but is incredibly crucial when travelling with kids. The biggest thing parents talk about is bringing whatever snack you can think of, even the ones that you may not typically allow to be eaten in abundance. Filling snacks high in nutrients and protein will help, and you can even go ahead and make some of your own healthy snacks. However, if you don’t have time or are happy to just buy what you need, go crazy.
Toys! (And Make Sure Everything Is Charged!)
Of course, toys and books are inevitable, but let’s be a little more specific.
- New toys are great and although usually don’t keep them entertained in the house for long, on a flight it can be a different story.
- Airplane toys that incorporate the plane can be unique for kids and leave them entertained for hours.
- Toys that can be cuddled with and colouring books can be a great comfort and a good distraction.
- Some stores have come up with a new concept called a Blind Bag which offers you a bunch of random toys inside a bag, and you have no idea what you are buying.
- It is most likely that your child will be utilizing tablets so make sure these are all fully charged before flights and that you bring chargers on the flights. Remember that airplane time and real lifetime don’t go hand in hand so if you are a parent who feels guilty for allowing your child a lot of screen time on a plane, don’t worry! Whatever works is best.
- Last but not least, including some nifty storage for toys so they don’t get lost and can give you fewer headaches. Pacifier clips to hang up toys and empty tissue boxes to place toys into can help.
Offering To Neighbours
Some of us understand how hard it must be for parents and want to help get kids comfortable when we are seated close to them, others can’t believe their luck. Either way, having some sort of offering will, hopefully, lighten the noise load that may incur throughout the trip. This can be a pack of cute snacks like chocolate or candy, earplugs and a cute note, or you can go straight up and buy them a drink. At the same point, if anyone gives you any attitude for trying your best, ignore them, its always the people that could never do it themselves that have the most to say!
At the end of the day, you need to expect the unexpected. Try to walk in with a clear mind and just let whatever happens, happen. Sometimes it’s the day, the time, the mood, the surroundings, the emotions and the fact that you’re trying to strap kids who usually run around for hours in a chair. Ignore the haters and accept the help that comes. Keep yourself calm and do your best to have everything you need to be organized in advance so you can pull out whatever you need to get through it. We believe in you! You got this!