Here is the continuation of my previous blog post with my top 10 tips for travelling with babies and kids!
Be present: So the baby and/or kids are probably not going to sleep or behave as expected and more likely than not will be super clingy. Just go with it, Little Miss slept for 5 hours straight on our flight back to Auckland…on me….. yes it meant I couldn’t really do anything…but after a while I just indulged in the cuddles and the feeling of her so close. I even managed tiny micro-naps after I strapped her on to me so she was secure. I also managed to read a few chapters of my book and watch half a movie. Similarly, the boys chewed hubby’s ear off with questions and comments about the airplane, about the movie they were watching and the food they were eating…but he went along with it and really enjoyed spending some quality time with them (right hubby?)
Be pragmatic: now is not the time for strict no-screen, no junk food, no no no type scenarios. While it is not a good idea to let your kids mainline m&ms or to let them be glued to the TV for 14 hours straight. It’s also not the end of the world if they eat the chocolate bar AND the chocolate cake on their meal plate.
The boys happily watched practically the entire Harry Potter series on the way to Dubai on my solo flight with them. The only rules I had was no eating when their meals arrived…last thing I needed was absentminded eating and they needed to switch off their screen for regular naps.
When they were really little I had an iPad for them to share for the airport waiting areas…this was, as I discovered really important for airports like Dubai where they herd you into a waiting lounge before you board the flight. These waiting lounges are often quite small, have no entertainment area for kids and no snack bars! So a bit of screen time to stop them driving mummy (and everyone else) crazy before we even get on the plane was fine by me.
I am all for raising respectful, polite and patient children, but honestly an airport/airplane is just not the place to school your kids in these traits. Travelling longhaul tests even the best traveled adults let alone children, its so gruelling for their little bodies and minds. So be kind to yourself and to them. Yes, don’t let them go screaming around but also don’t spend your entire trip admonishing them for not following every single rule they usually follow at home. Set some simple rules and stick to them.
Enlist the help of fellow travellers: Fellow travel weary passengers, especially other mums are so keen to help and stop by for a chat. Indulge them, its actually super nice for random strangers to pop in and offer to hold baby, take your kidlet for a walk, play peek-a-boo with them etc etc. Now is really not the time to be super-mum or over-protective mum, you probably could it all yourself but you don’t need to! On our latest travels, we had one over tired 7 year old who woke up from his nap screaming because he couldn’t work out where he was and an overtired baby who wouldn’t sleep….we were fast becoming THAT family…out of nowhere this mum came over and offered to help, she organised some extra pillows for the 7 year old and then took Little Miss off me and played with her while I helped hubby calm down our son, go to the toilet and drink a tea in peace….it was heavenly!
Snacks: Always always pack your own snacks. Yes, in theory you can buy practically anything air-side but a) it’s expensive and b) they will inevitably be out of that one flavour that your child likes. There’s so much waiting around at airports and everyone gets the munchies. So keep a stash of muesli bars and fruit on you. Airplanes usually are quite good at keeping food on hand even when their service isn’t running. And usually they serve a decent amount of food for kid meals. The boys have rarely finished an entire meal in one sitting. So I stash the extra bits of food in their seat pockets so they can snack on it later. The aircrew are also pretty flexible when it comes to children meals, for example our 8 year old decided that the adult meal choices sounded better than the child meal so he went up and asked for an exchange. If the flight isn’t overly full, they are quite happy to accommodate this.
Be flexible: no matter how well prepared you are, something will go awry. Its just the nature of travel isn’t it? The plane will be delayed, turbulence will mean no bassinet for baby or delayed meal service, the people 2 rows back will have no concept of inside voices etc etc. I have learnt to be flexible and let go a little bit. As I said earlier it’s approximately one day of your life and it will be done and over with soon enough so you can get on with your holiday, so just relax a bit… 🙂
Please like or leave a message if have enjoyed reading this blog post and/or have found it useful for travel with your kidlets!