We’ve all been there, you sit down to look at holiday destinations for your upcoming trip, find somewhere you love, check the travel time and realize that the kids will drive you up the wall with a 10 hour flight. The result is usually to change the destination to somewhere closer, and avoid the hell that flying with kids can sometimes be. This however isn’t a risk which you have to avoid, nor one which you have to run, there are some brilliant ways to keep your kids happy on a long haul flight.
Last year I wanted to take the kids to see some family in Australia, a 12 hour flight, instead of striking from it I headed to www.justfly.com, found some great prices for the flight and grabbed the bull by the horns. This could have been a risk given how the kids were during the 3 hour trip to Greece the year before, but I made sure that every aspect of the trip was meticulously planned. If you want to go long haul with the kids, here is how to keep them happy.
The ideal scenario here is that the kids hit the sack for a good 6 or 7 hours of the flight, more if you are a lucky. If you are flying on a red-eye flight then this will be ideal, the kids will be tired anyway and once the first hour of excitement has worn off, your kids will sink into a solid sleep. If you aren’t flying overnight then I would recommend that you ensure that your kids are pretty tired by the time the board. Take your kids to bed late the night before, walk them up early, ensure that they avoid foods or drinks which will make them hyper and with a touch of luck, your kids will sleep for a large chunk of that trip.
Something which I read on a forum that I decided to try out worked brilliantly and it kept the kids busy for at least 1-2 hours of the flight. The trick is to set up a backpack for each of your kids, a pack which they will use to document their holiday. In the pack I put a plain pad pot paper with pencils to draw what was going on, a small book which they could use to document what was happening, a disposable camera and a small box which they could use to store anything which they found on the trip. This not only keeps them busy and happy, but it makes the trip even more memorable for them.
Don’t run the risk of waiting to see what kind of entertainment the plane has to offer, usually it is not quite up to the high standards which kids expect. Instead you need to make sure that you have downloaded films, TV shows and games to their gadgets, and the rule here is that there is no such saying as ‘too many’. You may think that you have cracked it by downloading 10 episodes of Dora the Explorer but you can guarantee that your kid will want something different come flight time. Use every bit of storage space available to offer your kids plenty of things to keep them busy.
We all use a bit of bribery with our kids and one of the best ways to do this on a long haul flight is with the promise of a cock-pit visit. Naturally you will have to get the green light from the cabin crew before you dangle this carrot in front of them, but most are more than happy to squeeze your kids in and take them up to see what it looks like out the front of the plane. The plays up perfectly to your child’s curiosities and it can be a great way to keep their behavior good during the flight.
There aren’t many chances like this where you can sit down and have a conversation with your child, at least not one which involves you telling them off, so make the most of this quality time. Ask questions, open a dialogue with them, you’ll find that there is so much about them that you didn’t know or realize, and this is the perfect time to really get to know your little one.
These tips worked for me and I am sure that they can work for you too.