Ready for take-off! Tips for flying with young children

Every year 'we' count down until it’s time to go on holiday. Every hour spent at work and doing the school run suddenly seems worth it when you get the suitcases down from the loft and you begin packing the sun cream and flip-flops! But when you have to travel with children, it can evoke a sense of dread…not all children travel well, and even those that do will have “off-days”, which will be inevitably when you’re on a plane no doubt! 
Here we’ve compiled a list of tips to help make travelling in the air easier for everyone – including the children themselves. After all, they’re only small! And we know how much travelling takes it out of us adults! 

Getting there
Plan well in advance. It’s great having all your suitcases packed, but it may be worth having separate things for the journey to the airport. Knowing that your child is safe during the journey will also take a load off your mind. Consider some customisable signs to attach to your vehicle. You can find an amazing range of signage   from the smartsign website

A bag of magic tricks
Not quite a spell to keep them quiet, but not far off. Instead of getting them a large new toy or book for the plane, it’s better to choose small, inexpensive bits and bobs to keep them occupied. We love a trip to the pound shop to collect a bounty of distractions without making a dent in your holiday spends.

Take off and landing
Changes in pressure as you take off and land can cause that funny ear-popping sensation, which may feel a little uncomfortable or even painful to children. Usually the pressure will equalise within a couple of minutes — but yawning, chewing and drinking can help minimise any discomfort.

DVD player/Tablet
In your daily life, you may restrict how much TV your children watch, or how long they spend on your iPad — but digital distractions can be extremely valuable on a flight and can give you a window to take (a much-needed) breather.

Rather than relying on in-flight food options to keep tummy grumbles at bay (as well as moods in check!) pack your own menu including some favourite bites and a few treats. Pre pack snacks in clear ziplock bags you can hand out individually so there is no squabbling over the last breadstick! Best to avoid snacks which will get too messy or not last too long without the fridge.

Bedtime routine
Booking flights at a time your children would naturally be sleepy can help enormously in getting from A to B unscathed. One idea is to carry out their normal bedtime routine by changing into pyjamas, having a bedtime story and a cuddle, in the hope that they might sleep the whole way. If it’s a longer flight, a sleep may also help make them more manageable when they wake (after the initial 10-minute grump) as they’ll feel refreshed and calm.

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