Long flights with toddlers can be a nerve wrecking experience especially if you are a family that is not used to flying often. Fortunately my toddlers have taken multiple flights and sort of mastered the art since my husband and I come from different countries from where we live. Recently, I took a bold move to fly to Kenya, alone with two toddlers aged 5 and 3 years of age. Arguably, the thought of the journey is more overwhelming that the journey itself. In this post I will share some of the tips that really worked and helped me:
Prepare the toddlers
Always prepare your toddlers by talking to them and psychologically getting them ready. If they are in an age where they understand, explain to them that the flight will be really long and there are other people in it that do not like so much noise and crying. Through a period of two to three weeks we talked about the trip and how being tired could alter our feelings. This really helped as the kids would often remind each other of the “rules”.
Download the toddlers favourite shows and films
Travel time has no screen time limit waivered. Just before we set off to our trip, I downloaded both of the kids favourite shows and films. I had at least two shows for each hour of the flight. In addition to the shows, I found these wireless kids headphones that also had a sharing cable.
Pack as many snacks as possible
My strategy for long distance trips is to always pack as many snacks and food as possible. Kids that are fed are happy kids. For our recent trips, I used zip lock bags to pack individual snacks with labels on to avoid any possible fights. I had packed a snack for every hour. Additionally, I had their individual backpacks to store their snacks and gadgets. I also made sure I mixed both sugary and healthier food plus a sandwich to have during transit was the greatest win.
Don’t forget books and toys!
A week before our departure, I ordered some new books and toys for them. It is likely for the kids to be more engaged with a new toy than what they are already used to. The water magic coloring books were the best buy. They were amused at the disappearing coloring and therefore they kept going. Please check below for all the links to the items. Our kids love Paw Patrol and Peppa pig TV shows and therefore I made sure to get them their favourite stories from the two shows.
Flying long distance is exhausting with many unexpected events. In 2019, we got a 10hour delay in transit in Qatar, Doha. Being calm with a nine month old and a four year old was almost like rocket science. But we did it. Some of the great tips that helped us was being present and avoiding distractions like our phones. Energy is telepathic. The last thing for you to do on a long trip is to be in bad moods. The kids will get into exactly that. This worked for me and my two toddlers recently. It was really like a dream.
Ensure comfort in the aeroplane
I found these amazing inflatable foot rests on amazon and they were life changing. The kids were able to stretch their legs while enjoying their favourite shows. The best part was the comfort they provided whenever they needed to take a nap. Additionally, they were easy to have in the carry on.
Keep your toddlers busy during transit
Toddlers have a tonne of energy which if not utilised can drive parents crazy. I would therefore reccommend finding a playground at the airport of transit and let them burn most of the energy. This is definitely without over exhausting the kids. Over stimulated toddlers can easily anxious and challenging to calm down. You should therefore be keen to not overstimulate the kids.
Important links mentioned on the post;