Flying with children can be an adventure in itself. It’s always more complicated than flying by yourself. Here are some tips to help you achieve this.
This content was provided by Kinderling, a Playgroup NSW partner.
Flying with children can be challenging, especially for young or first-time parents. Up to the age of around two years, you’re not really on holiday with a child, it’s more a case of same routine, different location.
But there are ways you can overcome your jet stress, even with your little ones on board.
Chris Minogue, a Kinderling Helpline expert for 30 years, has come up with a plan and some amazing tips to help you fly smoothly with your little ones.
The first thing you have to do is plan ahead. Whether it’s a short flight or a long haul, you need to take into consideration:
● your child’s age
● the length of the trip
● the time of flight.
If your baby is 6-10 months old, then you’re in luck. Babies this age are normally very social and more settled into their rhythm of feeding and sleeping than older infants.
On the other hand, children up to the age of two years are more difficult to handle… difficult but not impossible. As Chris advises: “young children want a familiar feel to their days, particularly when their surroundings are changing.”
If you’re heading for a long-haul flight, you should consider staying put for at least five days, rather than moving around all the time.
Ready, Jet, Go!
One of the best ways to keep young children entertained up in the air is to let them listen to in-flight radio channels.
Some great suggestion would be the radio channels created by Kinderling Kids Radio in collaboration with Qantas. For example, Ready, Jet, Go, includes activities, stories and songs, Settle Petal is great for anxious children in need of calming down and Sleepy Soundtrack can be perfect for those long-haul flights.
Each channel is designed to keep your little ones entertained throughout the entire trip with awesome, jokes, activities and stories.
Car seats and night flights
If you plan on taking the long-haul, you might want to consider paying for another seat for your child. Chris admits it’s well worth the extra cost and effort, as most toddlers are familiar with their car seat and more comfortable in them.
Plus, when heading to Europe, “try to take night flights out of Australia where possible, as everyone gets more sleep”, she adds.
The feeding routine
Think about how the length of the flight will impact your child’s feeding routine. Bottle and breastfed babies need fluids every three hours, so make sure they are well hydrated on a regular basis.
The good news is they can have one six-hour period of sleep where you don’t have to wake them for a feed, which means you can get more sleep in return.
Toddlers on the other hand, need to have their favorite snacks at hand, even at 30,000 ft above the Indian Ocean. So, “if you’re travelling with a toddler, pack several snack boxes with food you know your child will eat”, says Chris.
Tune them in to Kinderling Kids Radio to keep them entertained or calm them down. Settle Petal and Sleepy Soundtrack have the ideal playlists for anyone wanting to get some shut eye during a flight.
Muslin or light wrap
When trying to settle a young baby, a muslin or light wrap is a travel essential. What you can do is place a light wrap over the tophalf of the bassinette if you need to block out a little of the light. The muslin will help them get a better sleep, as they’re not bumping themselves on the sides inside the narrow bassinette.
If your baby still can’t calm down and you’re worried about disturbing everyone else on the flight, Chris advises to “wrap your baby in a muslin and go for a walk to the darkest part of the plane… and just keep rocking until they fall asleep”.
You’ve made it
When arriving at your destination, you need to consider the time zone shift in order to reduce the jetlag. According to Chris, “no matter what time of the day you arrive at your destination, you need to move your baby into that time zone”. Avoiding oversleep and introducing them to sunlight on the first day will help reset their body clocks in no time.
When flying with children take some time in advance to prepare for it. And don’t forget to bring their headphones on board if you want to create the ultimate supersonic adventure for them.
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