Monday 29 October 2018

Flying with Children

Hey lovelies!

Holidays are looming on the horizon and it's time we start planning our year end vacation. You may have already planned your trip, chosen your accommodation and even booked your flights, but there’s so much more to travelling with the entire family than just the logistics! 
I love travelling and seeing new places, and it is so rewarding seeing new places through the eyes of my kids, broadening their horizons and enriching their minds. The only trouble I have with travelling is usually the flight; I do not enjoy long haul flights. I cannot sleep, I struggle to remain still for an extended period of time and cannot watch a screen for too long.

Now that they're older, flying is much easier!

Headphones are a travel essential for young travellers

My kids on the other hand love flying! It is one of the aspects of our vacations which they really look forward to. With our first trip, our baby was still quite young, and my concern was to keep him still for a 9 hour flight. These are a few things which helped me make the flight more bearable for him (and me!): 

  1. When travelling abroad, ensure your documents are in order. For kids under 18 you’ll need their unabridged birth certificate, an affidavit if one parent is not travelling with you; and try to keep an official document handy with your maiden surname if your passport reflects your married surname. I was held at Heathrow because I didn’t have any document which reflected my maiden surname (I’m not entirely sure why though). 
  2. Leading up to your journey, talk to your child about how amazing the vacation will be. I included the kids in deciding which tourist activity or sights they wanted to see at our holiday destination - so we put together our own itinerary. I let them google the destination and find what they felt they’d enjoy, this heightened their anticipation and made the flight bearable for them. Because at the end of the long flight there awaited an adventure for them! 
  3. Let them decide what their favourite quiet activities are, and plan their in-flight activities together. I purchased travel boardgames which they chose. A few other activities we planned was how much screen time they’d be allowed (ie games on the iPad- ensure all electronic devices are fully charged), some movie time, and my youngest loves the Where’s Wally books which kept him occupied for a while. 
  4. Take along their favourite soft toy and, if possible, their own small pillow. My youngest loves his own pillow, so he has a special travel pillow, which we use for road trips, and whenever we’re away. It goes a long way to calming any anxiety they may have during the flight, which becomes really restrictive. 
  5. Some kids are really fussy with food, and airplane food may not be appetising for them. So pack in some of their favourite snacks which will come in handy if they refuse to eat the kiddie box one gets on the flight. 
  6. I prefer to fly during the night as they would sleep for a large portion of the flight, try to wind them down on the flight as their usual bedtime approaches. I would try to read his favourite bedtime story, get him comfortable (sometimes this means laying across the parents laps) and try the usual bedtime routine. ie the story, prayer time and the usual rituals. 

What really works for me is preparing them before the time, and really getting them involved in planning for the trip as well as the flight. This creates a sense of anticipation which I will remind them of as they start to get restless on the flight. I’ll show them the places we would be visiting once we land at our destination (saved offline on the iPad). Flying with kids may be trying and exhausting and can leave one feeling frazzled- but always remember that the young ones do not necessarily know how to manage the frustration of being cooped up for so long, or what to do for the earaches. So it is imperative to avoid getting annoyed and impatient with them in the hopes of having a relatively fuss-free flight. 

So for those of you flying this vacation, have a safe journey and enjoy the precious family time! ♥️

Ciao for now,
RuBe xoxo

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