‘I’m bored!’ is something that every parent dreads hearing in the middle of a flight – children can often be difficult passengers as they have to sit still for long periods of time with little to do – this is particularly challenging for active kids!
We have flown with our son a few times now and find that flying with children needn’t be as stressful as you imagine – all it takes is some pre-planning and a few ideas to keep them entertained.
Firstly consider purchasing a backpack or child’s suitcase and fill it with everything your child will need during the flight. I’d recommend taking some favourite toys and buying a new toy especially for the flight – you could even consider wrapping up the new toy to add extra entertainment value! Don’t pick noisy toys or toys that require batteries as they are bound to run out mid flight!
A doodle pad or crayons and paper are good choices as are tubs of play-doh and magazines with stickers. Consider loading up your phone with child-friendly apps and videos or bringing along the DS (or other handheld video game) – just remember to put them in flight mode before you set off.
Books are also a great addition – consider including classic books like ‘Where’s Wally?’ which can keep them entertained for a long time. If you have a younger child or are on a long flight you might want to take a blanket and favourite stuffed toy as they may wish to take a nap (here’s hoping!).
Snacks are also a must to take with you as often airline’s don’t cater especially for children. Don’t forget sweets for take off and landing too as children can often feel discomfort during these times. Try to buy a bottle of drink (once you’ve passed through airline security) before your flight as kids are often impatient waiting for drinks to be served mid flight.
Most of all – relax! Most people will appreciate that flying with children is difficult and will sympathise if your child is unhappy or unsettled.