You know the scenario.
You’re at the terminal, trying to keep your composure through the stress of boarding checks and frequent announcements and the ever-present danger and dread of a delay…
And, of course, you face the problem of keeping your child entertained and content, lest they wreak havoc at the terminal or to the airline (not to mention your nerves).
Have faith – there is hope! Those of us who fly frequently have seen it all - the good, the bad and the ugly - from young passengers and their parenting skills at ten thousand feet. These ten tricks of the trade will help you, your toddler and your fellow passengers to survive any flight, with ease.
1. Back on Up
There’s a pretty good chance that your kids will have to use the toilet during the flight. This is especially true if you have small children or infants. In the former case, they may not want to tell you that they have to go to go out of embarrassment or until it’s too late. As such, it’s usually a good idea to try and snag a seat near the back of the plane and offer trips to the toilet on a regular basis.
2. A Day Of Fun First
One of the most wonderful things about children is that they’re bursting with energy and potential. As such, sitting on a long, cramped flight can leave them with a great deal of pent-up energy which, in turn, can lead to some serious behavioural problems. Solving this one is easy and fun – try and have a day of fun with your child before boarding the plane. This should help mollify them and allow them the chance to burn off some excess energy.
3. Look For Aisle Seats
If your children feel bored, they may want to stretch their legs by running up and down the cabin. Avoid this problem by restricting their access and taking the aisle seat yourself. Take an appropriate walk to stretch your legs, together.
4. Let Them Have Treats…
Airlines offer meals during long flights and snacks during shorter ones. Long flights can be a bit draining, so providing some tasty, nutritional snacks can go a long way towards helping passengers cope. This same principle holds true when it comes to keeping kids calm and content during long plane rides.
5. ...But Not Too Many
On the other hand, more treats may increase the chance that your child will have to use the toilet during the flight. Every complimentary drink that your child enjoys is likely to mean at least one more trip to the back of the plane. You’ll want to find that happy medium – just the right amount of treats and drinks to keep your kids happy, while avoiding having to get up and walk them to the toilet every five minutes.
6. Entertainment Is A Must
Toys, Game Boys, iPads, puzzles, dolls, pencils and paper for drawing can all help to keep your children occupied and quiet during a lengthy flight. Your children are usually the best judges of what they like and will be entertained by. Unless something is a hassle to transport or has the potential to be more disruptive than calming, it is always wise to let them have their fun - (quietly, of course).
7. Reading Is Entertainment Too
Everyone needs a break from technology and games now and then. As such, whether your child is into Dr. Seuss or Star Wars, it’s a good idea to have some reading material for them ready.
8. Timing Is Everything
If you’re planning to fly with very young children, if at all possible, try and pick a time during the day when they would normally be asleep, thus allowing them to nap for much of the flight.
9. Avoid Busier Flying Times
Flying can be a hectic prospect as it is. Adding to that natural stress by flying at peak hours or at the peak of the holiday travel season is just asking for a nightmare.
10. Travel With Class
From Shakespeare to Austen and back again, great literature has been built upon, among other things, the all-important matter of class. Likewise, on a lengthy flight, class matters. Travelling first class doesn’t just mean cocktails for you – it also offers a wealth of entertainment options to keep your child happy. Consider the added benefit of comfier seats (always a good way to cut down on restlessness) and you’re all set for a happy flight. Some airlines offer last minute upgrades to first class at very fair prices.
Whether you’re travelling alone or with your children, you can always make your trip less stressful by utilizing flight tracking options. You’ll know what to expect before you even get to the airport and you’ll be ready for anything!
At the end of the day, it’s good to remember, children will be children, and this is just another chance to understand your child better!