Getting anywhere with youngsters is often an exercise in patience for many parents as they face the constant whining of “Are we there yet?” – and that’s before you’ve moved out of the neighbourhood, and so the prospect of a six-eight hour plus flight is enough to send shivers of stress up the spine of even the most relaxed adult! Fear not, help is at hand! Here are ten tips to keep your little ones entertained and happy during those long hours in the air.
- Check with your airline about hand-luggage for children. If they are allowed to have their own, let them choose something themselves – keep it within the baggage allowance size, and then let them choose what they are going to take with them to keep themselves occupied during their flight time. Some airlines will weigh hand-baggage, some of them have strict rules about electronic games etc, so again, check on the policy of your chosen airline and advice your kids accordingly.
- Know that whatever your kids pack is not going to sustain their minds for the entire flight so take secret reinforcements. In your own hand luggage, pack small things that you know they will like and will keep them occupied for short periods. Give these out at 30 minute intervals starting say an hour or so into the flight – or whenever you suspect boredom is starting to set in. Possible ideas would include small packs of crayons and a colouring book; reading book by a favourite author; small craft set that includes all that’s needed to make something (although you’ll need to make sure that this can be done in the confines of the small space allocated and without driving any other passengers crazy!); travel game – great especially if you are travelling with more than one child; electronic game if allowed; puzzle book and pen/pencil; quiz sheets made up by yourself about things you know they are familiar. In fact anything that will spark their interest and enthusiasm – even a small nail varnish for older girls, or a sticker book for younger children.
- Make sure that you are seated with your children. If the crew on the ground say it’s impossible to seat you together because of seating already allocated, make a fuss when you get on the plane. They move other people so that couples can sit together, so it’s not impossible to insist that they place you with your kids. If you refuse to sit down, the plane can’t move – something will be done!