Travelling anywhere with a toddler is enough to make even the most confident parent feel a little uneasy, especially when it comes to travelling on a long haul flight. The one thing every parent knows is that you have to be prepared for the unexpected and not only have a backup plan, but a backup plan for your backup plan, should the first one not work out. Planning is everything and can save you unnecessary anguish and anxiety.
Try to stick to your child’s routine as much as possible. If your child has a certain book which you read to them before bed, bring that book along and read it to them just before you expect them to go to sleep.
9. I’m hungry
Bring along your own selection of healthy snacks and beverages. Children are hungry often and the snacks provided are not always sufficient or suitable.
8. Passing the time
Investing in a tablet is a great idea. This way you can bring along your child’s movies and you will also have control over what your child is watching. Often the preselected children’s programs on offer may not be entirely age-appropriate for your child and cater to his or her preferences. Also, if the flight is delayed it will give your child something to do and you’ll be able to relax for a little while.
7. Are we there yet?
Have one small wrapped present for each hour of the flight’s duration. At the end of each hour let your child open a gift. This will also help them to understand the length of the flight a little better and will encourage them to behave.
6. Be prepared for mess
Children love to mess so a plastic carrier bag for rubbish, tissues and a packet of wet wipes are essential.
7. Bring extra clothes in the carry-on
Pack two changes of clothing for your child and one for yourself as well. Toddlers are accident-prone and are likely to spill and mess with sticky little fingers.
4. Preventing earache
Regulating ear pressure can be quite a challenge for a small child. Encourage your child to yawn repeatedly during take-off and landing and even play a game where they get a point for every time they yawn. One could even give them a jellybean (to be eaten later) for each big yawn. It is essential that you have earplugs or cotton wool on hand which can be used for both take-off and landing.
3. Seat selection
When selecting a seat only request the bulkhead seats if your baby needs a bassinet. The reason is that their armrests cannot be moved and thus standard seats are far better as these armrests can be lifted which allows your little one to lie across the seat with their head on your lap.
2. Pre-flight toilet visit
A trip to the toilet shortly before boarding is essential. The toilets on an aircraft are really cramped and don’t allow much room for manoeuvring. They are also not always very clean and there is often a queue. If you can save yourself one less trip to the loo, do it.
1. Sense of humour
This is possibly the most important thing to remember to bring along because believe me, 10 hours into the flight you are probably going to need it!
If you have any other tips for dealing with the little ones while on a long-haul flight do let us know in the comments below.