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If you’re planning a long haul flight with young children, it can be quite stressful - particularly if it’s your first time doing so!
Will they cry the whole time? Will they annoy the other passengers? How will I keep them entertained throughout the journey?
You can’t guarantee that your child will be a little angel when on an aeroplane, it can be a challenge for young children to sit still at the best of times.
But a bit of preparation can help distract them from boredom and perhaps make travelling a little easier on everyone:
1) Take a lollipop or a drink to give them when landing, to help with the change in pressure. Children hate the sensation of their ears popping and that discomfort can lead to tears and tantrums.
2) Buy some new small toys and books (they don’t have to be expensive – pocket money toys will do) and bring one out one each time you see the boredom setting in. A small figure (such as the Playmobil animal bags) or finger puppet (like the Fiesta Crafts story sets) are ideal, as your child can get absorbed into some quiet, imaginative play.
3) Pack some sticker books - they're perfect because they don't require pencils or crayons, which can often end up rolling under seats!
4) A mobile device can be a lifesaver - on a long flight you’ll want to make a plan for managing screen time, but you could perhaps be more flexible with the rule than at home. Add a new app or two (make sure they work without Wi-Fi - the Good App Guide can give you some ideas) and maybe a film as well. Don’t forget headphones!
5) Before getting on the plane, get your youngster to burn off some energy. Once you’ve boarded, you can take them for a walk up and down the aisle, but avoid letting them loose!
Flying can be both an exciting and unusual experience for your little one. They’ll need to learn how to behave in this new situation and understand what is expected of them. It’s important to lead by example, so try to demonstrate how to be respectful of other passengers; for example, speaking softly when talking or reading to your child.
Coping with young children on a long haul flight is no easy feat, as Dr. Amanda Gummer explains:
“Long haul flights with young children can be stressful for parents. If the aim of the journey is for some time away to relax, parents might want to consider the impact of the journey on their overall enjoyment of the holiday.”
So if you find yourself worrying about the journey more than you’re looking forward to your break away (and if it’s not a necessary trip), it might be worth choosing a holiday closer to home. Otherwise, make sure you plan lots of activities to keep your tots occupied!
Written & Provided by our friends at Fundamentally Children!