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Flying With Toddlers and Babies - The Stress Free Guide

With summer upon us, many families will be getting ready to jet off on vacation. But whilst we all book our trips with high hopes of sun, fun and making memories to last a lifetime, the practicalities of travelling with the whole family aren't always quite so straightforward. Babies and toddlers can be notoriously difficult to fly with which really isn't surprising when you consider their routines are disrupted, their ears may hurt and actually, airplanes can be pretty scary. But with a little forethought and good organization, you can make your flight fun rather than fractious. Here are some tips on having a safe and pleasant flight with your little globe trotters in tow.

Good preparation

Airports can be vast and daunting places for little people so spend some time in the weeks before you travel telling them about the airport, showing them pictures and explaining what will happen - particularly when it comes to things like the security procedures which may seem a little intimidating for them. Being well prepared in yourself is also important. Packing should be tackled a few days in advance and your travel money and documents should be well organized. If you become stressed and impatient your children will pick up on this which will have a direct impact on their mood. Keeping things light and relaxed gives you a better chance of co-operation and positivity from them.

Invest in a Trunki

The Trunki is a ride-on suitcase and although at first glance it may seem like a gimmick, it can actually be a lifesaver in big queues or on long walks through the airport. Not only will it engage your child by giving them their own luggage to pack and be responsible for, it also gives them something to play with during those long waits.

Checking-in

Check in online before you travel. This will speed up the checking-in process which is undoubtedly one of the biggest queues you will face in the airport. Should you find yourself in a queue, the check-in area of the airport is usually a large, open space where the kids can burn some energy running around. If you are travelling with a stroller or pram, do not check it in at this point. Most airlines will accept your stroller into the hold as you board and having it to hand will be particularly helpful when navigating your way through the airport or if they want to nap.

Enlist technology

Gadgets such as iPads and portable DVD players are great ways to keep your little ones occupied in the airport. Movies and games can take up a sizeable chunk of the flight time and devices can be switched into airplane mode in order to make them safe onboard. Remember battery life is limited, so don't offer the gadgets to your kids until they become bored and irritable or directly ask for them.

Encourage sleep

Trying to plan your flight times around your kids routine may have a direct impact on your flight. If you can schedule a flight which is overnight or even during your child's usual nap time, you may find that they'll fall asleep giving you some time to relax too. Babies in particular are sensitive to the whirring noises and soothing motions of the plane and often fall asleep before take off. Bring pillows or blankets to make them more comfortable.

Healthy snacks

Snacks and treats can act as good bribery material but avoid anything sugary as this will make them hyper. Instead opt for high protein, long lasting snacks such as raisins which will occupy them as well as give them a boost.

Set boundaries

Although you will be cautious of keeping them happy and calm, it is important that they understand there are expectations on them and that bad behavior won't be tolerated. Ask an air hostess to speak with them about why it is necessary to behave well onboard the plane (often a telling off from a stranger can seem more severe than from parents) and don't be afraid to remove toys or dish out punishments for poor behavior. Yes, it might cause a quick tantrum but they will soon get the message and hopefully calm down. Reward good behavior in the same way, either with tasty snacks or small, wrapped up 'gifts' which can also double up as things to occupy them - think coloring books, stickers or games.


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