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This week, we’ve been chatting with Nanny Anita, blogger extraordinaire at one of our favourite family travel sites, My Baba. Anita is somewhat of an expert when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained, so we asked her to share some top tips on how to survive long plane journeys with young kids…
One of the big questions I am commonly asked is how easy is it to travel with children? My answer: very! Having flown nearly 100 flights with children aged between a few months to teenagers I have come up with a few basic tips.
• Explain to them what is about to happen and what you expect of their behaviour.
• Show them the type of aeroplane they are going on and where they are going. Then, at the airport they can have fun trying to spot their aircraft.
• If you can, include them in the planning of the trip, i.e. ask them what they would like to see and do once they are there and what would they like to pack.
• Make a flight record book, for this get a small notebook and divide each page into 5 columns. Then you can keep a record of the airline, where you flew from and to, the distance and get the captain to sign it. It makes a wonderful record for when they are older.
• If your child likes to look after their own belongings, Trunki sell a range of brilliant accessories for little travellers, but you can’t beat the ride-on suitcase. It’s great for keeping the kids entertained during long waits in the departure lounge and it can also be a handy way to pull them along when little feet get tired.
• Try not to pack toys that have lots of small parts, such as Lego, which are likely to get dropped and lost under a seat.
• Pack a few surprises for the children so that if they have been good they can open them up at certain intervals during the flight. They also make wonderful bribes.
• If you have a child that is recently out of nappies consider taking one of those water proof stick-on sheets that you can get for children who are learning to stay dry at night. Then, if you get stuck with a long period where the seat belt sign is on you can cover their seat with it. Therefore, if they have an accident their seat stays dry.
• Pack a pair of pjs. When it is bedtime (whether you are changing their routine or sticking to their usual one) it will help establish the thought that they should be resting.
• I had a family that would pack a small tupperware box with things like blue tac, tin foil, paper clips, ribbon, tiny note pads, mini crayons, pom-poms etc so that their children could make a little creation. If items got dropped it didn’t matter as they were all replaceable.
• Take a small water flask that you can fill up (once through security) so there are no worries about spilt drinks.
• Put children on the inside seats, that way they can’t get out without you noticing and if you have a hot drink they aren’t being passed over the child.
• When you get on the plane immediately switch your watch to the local time of your destination and then try to match yours and your child’s schedule to it.
• When you arrive at your final destination or back home, make sure you always eat your meals at the right time, even if it means waking a child up and then letting them go back to sleep.
• If you have young children or babies, try using a sliding schedule. This means a week or so before travelling you start to move their schedule forward or back by an hour (depending on which way you’re travelling) every few days, so that the finally time change isn’t so large. This works better if your children are not going to school
Check out the My Baba blog for the latest articles on modern parenting advice and family travel tips!