Travelling with children can be difficult – but this handy guide will ensure that you and your kids will both enjoy the journey.
- Keep them well-fed: Carry extra supplies of infant formula, milk and your child’s favourite snacks. Feed your baby before landing and take-off – this helps adjust their ears to the change in air pressure due to altitude and avoids the distress of blocked ears. Depending on your child’s age, food, gum and even candies could help here. Sipping liquids is another good way to ease pressure differences.
- Holding their attention: Carry along small cheap dolls or stuffed toys to divert the child’s attention. For older children, pencils, crayons and paper can help keep them engaged for longer periods. You could gift-wrap the toys to make the experience more exciting – but pack a variety of toys, because children get bored quickly.
- Everyone loves a story: Most kids love stories, so be sure to take a book or make sure your e-reader is charged and loaded with their favourites. Also try small word and alphabet games (e.g. “name a thing beginning with”) to keep your kids engaged. Older kids like trivia, so you might want to create some fun quizzes to use on the plane.
- Keep it predictable: If your child has never flown before, tell them what's going to happen at the airport and on the plane. Explain everything from security-checks to take-off and landing. Fear of the unknown can cause anxiety, and children are no less vulnerable to this. Ease their fears by showing them pictures of airplanes and of the things they’ll see out of the window.
- Keep it simple: Try to minimize your carry-on and check in luggage, especially when you are alone – you will already have a stroller, diapers, food, toys and an infant to take care of.
- Get there early: Board the plane early and always try to book the bassinet seats, which have special baby cradles for babies aged 0-4 months. Airlines let parents with children board early, and this will help you find a more accessible place to store your luggage.