Taking that well-earned family vacation is an exciting prospect, but if it’s a long-haul flight (or even if it’s not), the anxiety that sets in about how to keep your children happy for many hours at a time in a cramped little space… well, it can suck all the fun out. Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare – here are some great ideas to keep them, you, and the other passengers, happy and content.
Break It Up
If the idea of all that time stretching out ahead of you is making your holiday plans less than enjoyable, don’t worry – there’s a neat little hack that can make it all much more manageable. Work out how long your flight is, and then split it up into blocks. Depending on your children’s concentration levels, you might choose 15-minute intervals, perhaps 20-minute ones, even half hour slots, but whatever it is, make sure you have a new activity (a magazine, coloring, a card game and so on) for each block of time. The kids will be excited to find out what’s coming next, and you’ll be able to relax knowing you’ve got them covered. Plus, it’s a good way of making a long flight feel shorter.
Kids love movies, and movies last for a good few hours. Each. So, investing in a mobile device like a tablet that you can download movies to is well worth the money. Equally good is a portable DVD player, although you’ll also have to carry the DVDs around, and that will take up space. Whatever option you go for, allowing screen time on a flight can really make all the difference. Make sure you include one of the 10 best noise cancelling earbuds too, otherwise the noise of the plane might interrupt the movie and give you kid-style complaints!
You might be used to the uncomfortable ear-popping that happens when a plane lands or takes off, but your little ones won’t be. If they are in pain or scared by what’s happening, they’re not going to want to settle too well once everything levels out. Give them some candy to suck on during take-off and landing, and you’ll find that they are far more agreeable once the flight really starts (or you have to disembark and find your luggage, a cab, your hotel…). A lollipop is a great option, as these are safer than hard candy, but it’s best to choose treats with no added sugar. Yes, your children will have pain-free ears, but if the sugar takes hold they’ll also be unable to sit still – nightmare!
We’re not condoning bribing your kids to behave, but sometimes needs must, and giving them little gifts to unwrap every 30 minutes or so is one way to do it. You don’t have to spend a fortune on these things – little plastic toys, stickers, and crayons are ideal – and you could even wrap up some of their own toys (this only works, of course, if they have forgotten all about them, and haven’t played with them for a while…)!