So by now you probably know that I am one of life’s worriers. Because of this I like to research things quite in depth as this enables me to be prepared and organised for whatever life may throw at us. Or at least to some extent it does. As we prepared to go on holiday with our two children (aged four and seven months at time of travel) I was on Google, YouTube, Netmums etc doing my research. I believe that all my ridiculous worrying and researching of “top ways to entertain children on a flight so they don’t annoy the grumpy man sat opposite you”, paid off. So I would like to share with you some of my top tips of what worked for us and helped to make the holiday go smoothly. (First tip: don’t be stood in a queue in WHSmith trying to work out their stupid self serve checkouts while the last call for your flight is being announced. This will only leave you having to run like a wally, dragging various children and bags, to then be “those people” who are last on the plane. Never happened to us of course…just saying.)
Please note this photo was taken on the way home, when we weren’t running to catch the flight and had time to take a photo.
Prior to booking your holiday make sure passports etc are up to date. Remember that even a baby needs a passport (have fun getting their photo taken, our daughter looks like she has come straight from crime watch). Make sure you have travel insurance sorted and if you already have insurance be sure to include children on the policy. All these things seem obvious but they are important to get sorted ASAP. While you have your organised head on (ha ha) start thinking about little things that you can be collecting over the months or weeks leading up to your holiday. For example, a good few months before we went away I would keep my eye out for colouring books, crayons, stickers and puzzles that would fit inside my son’s hand luggage to keep him entertained for the flight. I also started hoarding food pouches, wipes, sun cream etc to help spread the cost and to be sure I wasn’t panic buying the night before. (I sent my husband to buy more pants for our son the night before but that was an unnecessary panic!) This did work as it meant when I came to pack I had everything I needed and nothing was forgotten.
Think about the time you are flying
We booked our flight for six o’clock in the morning thinking great the kids usually get up at that time anyway. Then, when it dawned on me we obviously had to be there two hours prior and factor in the forty minute drive to the airport, I felt very silly. So online I went to read about other people’s experiences and they all came back saying the same: don’t book an early morning flight. Too late. However, from our own experience an early morning flight worked perfect. Yes they were both tired by mid-afternoon but a short nap and they were ready to go again, so it worked out fine. The early flight meant that our daughter slept in the airport before getting on the plane and then was able to have her morning bottle just as the plane was taking off which was perfect to help with popping ears! The timings also meant we arrived at our hotel around lunchtime so were able to go straight to get food then into the pool. It is worth noting that we were lucky because our room was ready early, some hotels don’t check in until around three pm so maybe just have some extra spare clothes in your hand luggage. Basically, you know your family and their routines, just think about which flight time is going to work for you in terms of naps, eating and bottle feeds.
Prepare your child’s hand luggage
As mentioned previously, start gathering entertainment for your child for on the flight (this will also come in handy to have things for them to do during a quiet time while away). I packed in my son’s hand luggage: two activity sticker books, crayons, a colouring book, a couple of his favourite dinosaurs and a good old Kinder egg so he had something to open. All of these things I kept a secret from him so it was all new and exciting when he opened his bag. I also had my Ipad which was fully charged and loaded with games. He only used this on the flight on the way home, he was too excited on the way there! It is also a good idea to pack either some lollipops or a carton of juice so they have something to suck for take off and landing to help with ears. Same goes for a baby. The main reason a baby will cry on a flight is because their ears hurt. Try and time bottle feeds for take off and landing or I found giving her a plastic spoon to chew on also helped and kept her entertained for a good while. The simple things.
Invest in a SnoozeShade
I have linked below the SnoozeShade we used for the pushchair as it worked wonders at keeping the sun off baby and meant she could nap in her pushchair safely and without distractions.
Be calm and relaxed
My final tip is something I have learnt over the years. I really believe that if you are calm, your children will be too. Remember you are on holiday. Yes it is a bit different now you have other people to constantly think about, but just enjoy yourselves! Go with the flow. Have some time out the sun to let your children either nap or play some games to “chill out”. Dangle your feet in the pool with a drink (if this is not frowned upon at your hotel or resort). Let your children be themselves and eat lots of ice cream. You have waited a long time for this holiday; make the most of everyday. Every early morning and late night. Every application of sun cream that seems to take up most of your time. Embrace it all because before you know it you will be back home drowning under a mountain of washing.
This cocktail is called a “FatFrog”, someone hasn’t just sneezed into my wine glass!