Travelling is supposed to be fun and, for the most part, it certainly is. It’s the getting ‘there’ that sometimes comes with the most hiccups. Here are a few tips from BabyYumYum to make your winter family holiday easier, whether you’re getting there by car or by airplane.
Tips for flying with kids
Children and babies are notorious for crying on airplanes, but it really isn’t their fault. We know what’s happening – we booked, planned and paid for the experience – but they’re kind of just going through it without knowing what to expect. In addition to that, they don’t know things like the need to ‘pop their ears’ when the air pressure changes, so let’s try make it easier for them and ourselves.
Handy flight tips include
- Check in early or, better still, check-in online. This ensures that you can sit together as a family.
- When it comes to packing hand luggage: go for a backpack which allows you to find items easily in their designated compartment. Best of all, it frees up both your hands, which can be a life-saver when managing the kids.
- Anticipate blocked ears by having a bottle on hand for your baby and sugar-free suckers for the older kids, making it easier for them to cope with air pressure changes as the airplane takes off and lands.
- Board the plane with baby and your other kids at the last call, maximising time spent in a space where they can stretch their legs.
- Babies cry. And while that experience may not be the highlight of your trip, it’s an unavoidable fact (you know all too well). Keeping tabs on the time can help you anticipate at least some of the crying some of the time, helping you to stick as closely as possible to bedtime and feeding routines, even when flying across timelines.
- New sights and sounds can be a little unsettling. If your little one has trouble settling down, you can always put them in a baby pouch and use the time to stretch your legs walking up and down the aisle, while allowing the motion of your movements to rock baby to sleep.
Keeping kids entertained on the road and in the air
- Be strategic: whether it’s a blanket, teddy bear or anything else – make sure your little one’s favorite source of comfort is close by as a welcome distraction.
- Entertainment 101: bring on the games – from playing cards, portable Scrabble to ‘I spy’ or road trip bingo. Get creative with your older kids by fashioning bingo boards and telling them to look out for 10 different objects as you are driving or flying. The first one to fill their board with all 10 items wins the game (and a prize).
- In case you have a couple of spare hours before you even leave home (read: not sleeping in anticipation of the long journey ahead), create a travel box for each child, including fun items like a colouring book, crayons, a book and puzzles.
- Final countdown – when you really need to pull out the big guns, a portable DVD or iPad with their favorite movies and games are ideal for keeping kids occupied, holding their attention.
- Keep a good supply of healthy snacks. These can be packed into different compartments of a handy plastic toolkit, making it fun, tidy and easily accessible.
- Take backup in the form of a surprise like new games or delicious snacks. This is to be used in emergencies only, such as when the kids need motivation for ‘playing nice’.
- Take with an extra change of clothes and also the necessary medicine in case anyone is feeling out of sorts.
With all of that in mind and those boxes ticked, remember that a big part of a vacation is actually taking a break and using the time to take care of yourself. Being a parent is both an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience – taking care of your own well-being amidst all the the action that having kids brings is key.