If there is one thing that makes me nervous about going on holiday it’s flying with the children. Firstly, I’m not a big lover of flying and secondly, the thought of a screaming toddler/baby in a confined space for hours fills me with dread.
But if you want guaranteed sun for a holiday there aren’t many options other than to fly… So when it came to holiday options this year, even though we have had two dreadful experiences flying with Amelie previously, for some crazy reason we decided to fly to Greece a few weeks ago with a two year old and a 7 month old baby. I needed sun!
This was our third flight with a child/ren in tow and we learnt from our first flight with Amelie that preparation is key (and coffee/alcohol helps). I’m half joking on the alcohol. Alcohol definitely helps but usually after the flight as jumping on a plane at 6am with a bottle of wine and two children would definitely be frowned upon.
After flying three times with them I honestly don’t know if my husband will do it again but there are definitely some things you can do to make it a bit easier…
My top tips for flying with children
Take food and lots of it, when you think you have enough in your bag – PACK MORE.
Not only will it help keep little ones quiet for a few minutes, it can be used as bribes to put on seat belts/sit down when you really, really need them to. We had packs of chocolate buttons for this exact reason. On our second flight with Amelie she took great offence when she had to put her seat belt on and after a 45 minute melt down I vowed to on always travel with chocolate.
For their ears
To help their ears adjust to the change in pressure you can try the following things.
- If they are old enough they can do what we do and suck a sweet or have a drink.
- Sweets really aren’t an option for a baby or a toddler so for Evie we made her wait for her bottle and then gave it to her as we took off as the sucking helps regulate the pressure, if she wasn’t ready for a feed then I had a spare bottle with water in it.
- We asked our toddler to drink water and gave her an Ella’s smoothie for take off and landing, this was a good way to keep her amused and help her ears.
To keep them amused
- Don’t worry about giving them an iPad, it will be your best friend. Throw screen time out of the window for flying, we did and we haven’t seen her asking for it more at home.
- Stickers and sticker books are amazing for keeping toddlers amused, just keep your eye on them. I wondered why I was getting disapproving looks from fellow passengers then looked at where Amelie had stuck the stickers – all over the side of the place by her window. I have never peeled stickers off so quickly!
- A pack of colouring pencils and a book – a classic but they’ll love drawing.
- If you’re toddler is older a game that they can play easily on the tray in front on them.
- For a baby or smaller toddler small toys that can easily be put in a cabin bag.
I remember when we first flew with Amelie I made my husband book the most expensive flights as they fitted in with Amelie’s routine. This year we only had one choice so we had to wake them up really early and we had to keep them awake until the flight. It really didn’t matter and both adjusted well and slept (even briefly) on the flight… there is something soothing about the background noise that helps them sleep.
Take a light weight buggy that you wouldn’t be distraught if it gets damaged in the hold, or buy a buggy bag to protect it.
We put our Bugaboo in the travel bag and used a carrier until we were re-united with it.
There are my top tips, remember if it all goes wrong on the flight – you are more than likely sitting near someone who will empathise/give you something to try and calm your child down and if it all goes really wrong you won’t see any of the people on the plane again so don’t worry!