You may be taking a flight somewhere with your little one/ones. Hooray for holidays! But I hear so often that parents are ‘dreading the flight’; usually because they imagine their child getting frustrated with being in a confined space and then disturbing others. Well, here’s some of my tips you could try towards achieving a happy, calm flight:
Activities: I feel ipads/tablets are just the perfect pastime on a plane. Before you leave the house check that what you want them to use appears in Flight Mode. You may want to download new games and films to grasp their attention and I’d also have their absolute favourite/‘go-to’ film, episodes or game available on there too.
You can play a travel board game, cards, matching pairs, jigsaw type games with them using the tray. I love the small Orchard game boxes for toddlers (Sainsbury’s and Amazon sell them cheapest). You could always tip the box contents into a food bag of you feel the boxes are too bulky.
Mark making activities are fabulous for a flight (of course!) small pads for doodling, lightweight/thin colouring books are ideal. My 5 year old likes me to write out sums or spellings for her to do! I’ve come across these excellent felt tips joined by their lids so they are kept together, less parts to be dropped in the footwell!:
Stabilo Cappi Box of 12 Felt Tip Pens + 1 Cord
Once your child/children are engrossed in colouring in or watching a film, you can sit back and relax. Should your child not be one to become engrossed in one activity I’d recommend taking with you whatever it is that relaxes them and their favourite toy.
Take a stroll: to stretch their little legs and kill 10 mins, when the drinks trolleys aren’t in action, take them walking up and down the isle a little. You’ll find they will probably spark some sort of conversation with other passengers and probably make a friend that they could pop back to say hello to next stroll time.
Food: I know most people swear by lots of snacks to help keeping little ones occupied, however I think it’s a good idea to have your child get a bit hungry so you can have a meal time/larger snack whilst on the flight. That way you can have eating as a longer activity, using a chunk of your time flying on dining together. Pack extra snacks for later on in the flight should you need them!
Look out of the window: on the way up and on the way down there is plenty to see, so there is 15mins of time at either end of the flight that can be filled pointing out and chatting about what they can see. Is the land dry? Flat? Similar or different to our country? Etc ..
Nap: you can make this a flight ‘thing’! When you speak about flights and when on every flight you get on there’s a time for us all to sleep! Like, “after our food it will be the time for our nap”… it’s just what we do on a flight! I know plane seats aren’t the most comfortable which is a shame, but there are a range of those neck cushions for children (Mothercare) and adults. I always take a few baby blankets on board too as it can be chilly once you’re up at 20,000 feet! Make sure their seat belt is on before they drop to sleep that way you don’t need to disturb them to put it on should the Captain signal to fasten belts. If you get the absolute win of them napping you have to order yourself a nice drink, it’s the law haha.
Remember your child will follow your lead, if you are ‘dreading the flight’ and speak negatively about being on the plane then they are already expecting not to enjoy themselves. Look forward to this part of the adventure and they will too! Paint the picture and spread the vibes of a flight being a time to chill and something to enjoy.
Oh and also, if your little one does cry, become frustrated or has an almighty tantrum … it happens! DO NOT worry about the other people on the flight! Smile through it, concentrate on comforting them, not on any one else… Most people have been there before and understand, and those that don’t… oh well! Block them out and do whatever you have to do to comfort your little one, it will soon be time to land.
Happy flying and have a super time on those precious family hols! xx
Little Learners Manchester North