Posted on August 24 2018
Going on holiday with your children is a magical experience for everyone, but it does involve a little preparation if you’re planning to fly. Whether it’s making sure you have all the essentials packed, or avoiding the inevitable game of human Tetris as the family piles into the car for the drive to the airport, there’s a lot to think about even before you’ve considered how to keep the kids entertained onboard the aircraft.
But there are a few tricks you can try, as Peter Jenkins, family holiday travel expert and founder of Sun-hat Villas, explains.
Don’t fear long haul flights
You want to book a dream holiday in Barbados but you’re worried that your children may get bored during the journey. We definitely don’t want them sitting around upset for hours on end, so how do we fix that?
Long-haul flights usually have an endless stream of movies, cartoons and TV shows to please even the fussiest of watchers, but sticking your kids in front of the screen for nine hours isn’t ideal.
Eventually, they will get bored, so make sure you bring an array of activities to keep the smiles on their faces and their minds active.
If you have a baby and they do begin to cry, remember some of your tried and true methods to calm them down – sing nursery rhymes, read from their favourite books or play a good old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo.
Let them sleep
Another great tip for ensuring a peaceful travel is booking the flight around your children’s usual bedtime so that there’s a chance that they will nod off, leaving you plenty of time to sit back, begin a good holiday read and enjoy the in-flight refreshments.
Getting comfortable however, may not be easy for little ones. We’ve all been there, shuffling about, tossing and turning looking for a position that will help us sleep, but unless you’ve got a window seat this might not be easy. So, try to prevent this by bringing along a blanket and neck pillow to help them rest their head a little better, or an inflatable cushion to give them extra space to stretch out and curl up.
Mealtimes all wrapped up
If you’re on a short haul flight, food doesn’t tend to be included and what’s on offer may not appeal to the little ones. Wherever you’re going, always try to take a good supply of mini meals and snacks in securely-sealed plastic containers. Sandwiches and healthy snacks such as grapes and dried fruit are quick and easy to prepare, and normally go down a treat.
For infants, airport regulations allow you to take in baby milk and sterilised water inside your carry-on without the 100ml restriction, so long as the total amount of liquid does not exceed one litre. For security reasons you may be asked to taste the drink.
While TV shows and films can occupy youngsters for a while, it’s important they’re not staring at a screen for the whole duration of your flight. Being trapped in a confined space for a long time can make us adults feel agitated, so of course children will get fidgety too.
Keep a selection of puzzle books in your bag to keep older kids amused with word-searches, or a sticker or colouring book for younger ones.
You could even make your own games, adding some fun and giggles to the journey. Using everyday post-it notes, you can play very own version of ‘guess who?’ Inexpensive and fun – stick the note to
your forehead and await the barrage of questions! Who knows, maybe other passengers will want to join in.
Join in the fun
Fend off boredom by getting the whole family involved in what your children are doing. When they start a game, or begin drawing, ask if you can join in too, or whether they can tell you a little about it. If they think you’re interested in it too, they will enjoy it even more. Ask them to tell you a story about what they their upcoming holiday adventure, or try a two-player game such as ‘snap’.
If you have older kids, ask them to read you a chapter of their book, though be careful not to get too animated when your fellow passengers are trying to sleep. For more family holiday inspiration visit www.sun-hat-villas.com.