With summer here, our thoughts turn to family holidays. Clear blue seas, golden sands and balmy temperatures are just around the corner, but there is just one problem because to reach that idyllic location you are going to have to travel. No problem you may think, it’s all part of the experience. Think again. For when you are a parent of one or more travel averse toddlers, this can prove challenging at best.
Children love family holidays. It is a time to spend quality time with their parents and siblings, enjoying all of their favourite activities in the sunshine. Swimming, playing ball on the beach and building sandcastles – what could be better. What they seem to forget, is that you have to get there first.
Taking a flight, however long with children can be stressful. It is difficult for your little ones to understand that they have to remain seated sometimes for hours at a time, seatbelts on with nothing much to do.
Unless you are one of the lucky ones who start your vacations with private jet charters, most of us will embark on our journey in a cramped economy class cabin full of strangers.
Tempers fray, stress levels rise, and even the shortest of flights can turn into an endurance test that you would rather forget.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. With thorough preparation and careful planning, you and your toddlers can have a calm, stress-free flight, and they might even learn to enjoy it.
Do the groundwork
If your toddlers haven’t flown before make sure they understand what to expect. You can even recreate the scenario at home by lining up a few chairs and playing ‘aeroplanes’ with them. Explain that they have to remain seated but emphasise the positives. Tell them that they will be able to watch TV on the plane and get them involved in packing their cabin bags too.
Give yourselves time
Calm parents equal calm kids, so make sure you allow plenty of travelling time to get to the airport. You will avoid unnecessary stress and reach the boarding gate feeling relaxed.
Make sure you have plenty of activities that you can bring out when needed. Drawing, pocket games, ipads or a story for when they feel sleepy will help pass the time.
Take plenty of snacks
There is no better distraction for a young child than their favourite snack. Make sure you take plenty and try not to get anxious about what they choose to eat on board. It is only one flight, and at least it will keep them quiet. Remember to pack some lollipops for when you are coming into land. Children can suffer terribly with pressure pain in their ears so take along something they can suck, a comforter or even their favourite teddy.
You made it! Hopefully, you will have had a great flight and can now enjoy your holiday. Just remember the advice for the return leg of your journey and your family vacation will be one to remember for all the right reasons.