My kids have taken over 20 flights in their lifetime with many more on the horizon. We have made it a habit to travel on a plane at least twice a year since they were a few months old. I admit that we have been blessed with two kids who seem to enjoy flight and so far (touch wood) our flights have been largely free of child created drama even when we missed our flight in Perth and that time when we were repeatedly pushed off the flights back to Sydney (5 hours later we boarded).
So what’s our secret? I can’t just rely on my hope that they will be calm throughout the flight so I always come prepared with a little kit of goodies that I can pull out as needed. T thinks my kit is a little over the top, but I think it’s partly due to this kit that our flights are so great. Want to know what’s inside?
1. Chewable suckers. I like to prepare for ascent and descent. As babies this wasn’t necessary as I would just breastfeed as the plane took off. These days I pack Hubba Bubba (3 packets in various flavors), redskins and lollypops and tell the kids “let’s see who can make this last the longest”. The competition element seems to prolong their sucking and sore ears are averted. It’s the only time I provide sugar during the flight to avoid sugar-highs. Just in case I pack some eucalyptus drenched hankies to smell.
2. Activities. Miss N is not easily distracted by electronics so I need items to keep her hands busy. Craft seems to work well. On our last trip I packed a new loom band kit which required a lot if assistance. My tip is to find kits that require little assistance so you can rest as well. For our next trip I have procured:
Mini Playdoh tubs (3)
Djeco Craft Kits
Mini Mae Reusable Fabric Dress Up Doll Stickers
DK Lego sticker books. These offer hours of concentration and I buy one for each kidlet each time we travel. These are in every kit we create
New Smiggle pencils
Word search book
3. Electronics. Most long haul flights have entertainment embedded into the back of seats. These offered a plethora of TV shows, movies and even gaming options. Some flights may not but do offer inflight entertainment through your own tablet if you download their app. Make sure you have done your research and know what is on offer. I also add a few new movies to the kids iPads and some new apps. They are a great back up. Make sure you have headphones that work on planes too.
4. Pillows. We didn’t invest in these until our flight back from Perth earlier this year. Why didn’t we do this earlier?!? They supported our little ones head when sleeping upright and were a godsend. I thought the blow up type would be better for storage but they aren’t as comfy. The Neck Squidgy by Annabel Trends is one of my favourites.
5. Wet ones. Always have a pack on hand. They clean up almost any mess, perfect for trips to the airplane toilet and are also great for refreshing your face.
6. Equipment free games. I-spy, animal mineral vegetable etc are all great time savers. My top game at the moment is Scattergories. I’ve basically taken out board game and converted it into an easy accessible travel version. Want more? Head to Journeys of the Fabulist for her comprehensive roundup of travel games
Above all, keep calm. An easy going attitude will serve you well on long trips. Don’t freak out when your kids cry. Try diversion first, it often works. Get out of your seat and go for a walk with them to the toilet and back again.
Adriel Booker is a godsend when providing advice for travel and I have enjoyed reading her 12 great reasons why you should travel which has confirmed my strong belief that travel expands our children’s minds and imagination. Her post on Goody Bags is a great one to read too.