Everyone gets a bit terrified when planning a long journey with children. The benefit of a car journey is that you can stop every now and then to get some fresh air and a little personal space. Travelling by aeroplane, however, is a different matter entirely.
We’ve all seen it when standing in line waiting to board. Parents and children getting ushered along to board first, and you can feel a collective inward groan from the other passengers. Perhaps you are one of those groaning at the thought of being stuck in a metal tube thousands of feet above the ground with noisy kids for company.
Travel, especially long journeys, is as difficult for the children as for those travelling with them. Children have energy to burn and much shorter attention spans than adults. They have a constant need for entertainment and stimulation because they are still growing. Their brains are still developing. So how do you keep them entertained on a long flight?
Here are three tips for enjoying long flights with children.
1. Plenty of games and activities
Pack an entertainment bag for the children and ensure it’s full of things that they will love. Books, colouring, games, soft toys, it all depends on the child’s age and interests. Do they enjoy small world play? Are they creative? Some parents like to choose well-loved toys from home, whilst others like to create a blind bag: a selection of new (or at least new to them) toys that will gradually be brought out during the flight.
One suggestion for a travel game is I Spy, which has been passed down for generations. You can also purchase travel sized versions of games like Connect4 and Monopoly.
2. Screen time
Don’t shy away from screen time. Pack the iPad, LeapPad, portable DVD player, or whatever else it is you use. Download shows, games, apps, music, podcasts, anything that you know your child would enjoy interacting with. Tech Advisor have compiled a list of the best kids apps which might give you some ideas. Always ensure you have a full battery and bring your charger with you! Some flights will have charging ports for passengers, whilst others don’t. Don’t rely on using your phone, but instead conserve the battery in case it is needed for the next part of your journey. Make use of the in-flight entertainment too, because they often show new films.
Possibly the most important tip of them all – pack all the snacks! Even if meals are provided in flight, your children will still want to eat. Try to avoid all the sugary sweets and biscuits which will have them bouncing off the walls, and instead take a look at this list of healthy travel snacks. Remember the fluid limits through check-in and pick some drinks up when you are waiting to board.
Finally, breathe! Enjoy the experience with your children. Turn it into an adventure and it won’t become a stressful experience for the whole family.