There are few things a parent dreads more than a long haul flight. They know that keeping their kids calm, happy, and out of trouble for hour upon hour is going to be a serious struggle. As a matter of fact, it is challenging enough just to keep ourselves calm, happy and out of trouble for that long!
Yet flying long haul doesn’t necessarily have to be a nightmare. With the following tips you have a better chance of avoiding a mid-air melt down. Because kids come in a range of ages and personality types, some of these will be more applicable to your situation than others.
Don’t ever let them get the least bit hungry
This is especially true for babies and toddlers, but it also applies to older children as well. Stock up on everything they are going to need and give it without hesitation. Turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread are especially good because they contain the amino acid tryptophan and are high in complex carbohydrates, both of which will induce drowsiness. That increases the chance the kids will drift off to sleep, so you and the other passengers can enjoy the flight in peace. Above all, never give sugary treats, because those will have the opposite effect and also lead to sugar crashes that can possibly bring out the worst behaviour imaginable.
Watch thirst too
Airplanes are air conditioned, and contain unnaturally dry air. This not only increases the risk of illness (300 people all breathing the same air for 12 hours, you figure it out!), but also can lead to minor dehydration. If your toddler gets a headache at 30,000 feet, you can be sure everyone on board will know about it very quickly! That kind of problem can be avoided by providing plenty of hydration regularly, even when they’re not asking for it.
Encourage them to try to sleep
You already knew this one, right? It’s so obvious, but instead of trying to make your kids feel all excited and happy about flying, it’s actually better to make them feel like it’s just another long and boring trip, so they may as well stretch out and get some sleep.
Be aware that you’re probably not going to get any sleep yourself
If you accidentally drift off while flying with kids, and they wake up, the next thing you know they are running amok. Flying with a wingman will take this particular pressure off you, but otherwise keep yourself entertained and try to stay awake.
Get some pressure-normalizing ear plugs
You know how to equalize the pressure in your ears, but babies and toddlers can’t do that, which is why they usually howl with pain shortly after take off and just before landing. There are special ear plugs you can buy that can help with this problem.
Traveling anywhere always has some risk and certain situations can lead to many having to make a holiday illness claim, but with careful planning and management, you can avoid most problems. The above tips are not intended to be an exhaustive list; they are simple measures that any parent can employ to eliminate the chief causes of in-flight problems your kids could experience.