- Let them know what to expect
Talk to your children about the flight and what is entails. Prepare them for the noise, turbulence and rules (e.g. seatbelts) and warn them that there is going to be a lot of sitting down! Warn your child that their doll, teddy, toy is going to have to go through the X-ray machine to fend off any tantrums when they have to part with their favourite cuddly for a couple of minutes.
- Bring your own entertainment
Digital - Download some new TV programmes, movies, songs, stories etc onto devices. The novelty factor will keep them entertained for a while! Just make sure devices are charged and consider bringing a portable charger if you have a long journey.
Traditional - Bring activity/colouring books, crayons, stickers, pens for them to play with. They can’t spend all the time looking at a screen. Older children can bring a selection of travel games.
- Give them important jobs to do
Let them pack their own on-board bag for the flight if they are old enough but double check it as your child’s idea of essential is probably different to your own! Remind them that they are in charge of their bag and everything in it.
- Reduce the pressure!
Bring chewing gum (for older children) or lollipops for take-off and landing to ease popping ears!
- Be ready with rewards
Consider buying some small toys to unwrap during the flight as a reward for good behaviour and to eek out a long journey.
- Pack lunch and a change of clothes
Pack plenty of snacks/food for the flight but not anything too crumbly. Consider chocolate or a treat if things get really bad! Nothing like a bribe in a plane full of people! Pack a change of clothes for the kids and you if you are travelling with a baby. Nothing worse than an accident mid-air all over everyone’s clothes and nothing to change into!
- The "clean up"
Bring a small first aid bag in your hand luggage with hand sanitiser, plasters, child medicine, tissues plus a sick bag and wipes. just in case! You never know and at least you can clean up and dispose of the mess!
Remind yourself that it is just one day of travel and that you will get there!