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How to keep the kids happy on a flight?
Travelling with children might not be the easiest. The long waits and sitting in one place can take its toll. With a bit of preparation and our useful tips you can make things a bit more fun for the whole family.
Toddlers and small children
- With smaller kids the key to smooth travel is having lots of options. Whether its toys, games, or snacks keep the children happy by switching things around often enough. Distraction is everything to make the time fly by.
- Make sure you book a window seat if you have the option to choose. That will guarantee something to do for at least the take-off and landing.
- Grab some sticker, puzzle or colouring books, or other crafty things with you. Doing something with hands makes sitting still easier.
- Play some simple games that require nothing but imagination. Simple ones include spotting items of a certain colour or thinking of as many animals, foods, or items of clothing as possible. More great ideas can be found here.
- Pack finger friendly snacks. Choose snacks that can be eaten slowly one by one such as raisins or cherry tomatoes.
- Movies, music or audio books can be a blessing. Make sure you have the kids’ favourites downloaded on the phone or iPad or make the most of the airline selection.
- Pack some miniature versions of toys. Small stuffed animals, figurines or Legos provide entertainment, but don't take up too much space.
- Give the children a photography challenge. You could ask them to document your trip or think of fun, creative photo opportunities, such as taking closeups of everything possible!
- Print out some free games. There are several sites that collect free games that you can print out and play, just search "printable travel games" and choose your favourites. All you need is a pen.
- Take lollipops with you. Sucking on lollipops helps with earache during take-off and landing. They are also slow to eat so will give the children a treat without a huge sugar hit.
- Treat your teenager at the airport to keep them pleased. If they want an iced coffee, fashion magazine or new headphones, the airport before you board is the best time to treat them and keep the peace for a long time.
- Have them bring something interesting to read onboard. Even though hanging out on the phone is fine too, some reading material will be appreciated at some point.
- Suggest they learn a new skill on their phone. Good ones include photo or video editing or learning a language on an app.
- Bring something crafty to do. Crocheting an amigurumi or doing some miniature macrame or origami doesn't require much material but can make the time go very fast.
- Let teenagers pick their own snacks. Sure, they might want to just eat tortilla chips and chocolate, but unless you travel every day that is hardly an issue. Just pack some healthy options too to offer when they actually realize they might want something else.
Extra tips for grownups
The parents might need some pampering too – especially when travelling with children. Make sure you take care of yourself with these tips.
- Make sure you have snacks and drinks that you enjoy too. It's not only the kids that need to be fed and watered. You deserve better than eating the children’s leftovers.
- Stretch and get some movement in. With your attention on the children, you might forget to get your blood flowing regularly. Do some exercises on your seat or get up and stand once every hour.
- Try a meditation app. When you need a moment of peace and the kids are happily playing, put on your earphones and chill out with a short meditation.
For practical information on travelling with children, click here.
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