Flying with children – tips on how to keep them happy
With almost 70 million Brits travelling abroad every year*, most families have experienced the stress of flying with young children. It’s so important to learn how to keep children happy while flying to make the flight less stressful.
Florida4Less polled over 1,000 parents to identify the most stressful things about flying with kids and how parents can make the journey smoother.
Alongside the research, the online travel agent teamed up with child and adolescent psychotherapist Joanne Higgins to create a guide which offers advice on how to make flying with children better for everyone. These top tips for flying with kids and how to keep them happy will ensure your holiday is enjoyable from start to finish.
- Don’t worry about the noise
72% of parents rated this the most stressful part of travelling with young children, with many aware of annoying other passengers and others noting that fellow passengers “can be quite grumpy” about it.
It is quite often the case that the parent is more aware of the noise than other passengers are, but remember that a smile or apology goes a long way and people are usually sympathetic.
Psychotherapist Joanne Higgins suggests: “Children are generally far more active than adults and usually less inhibited when it comes to keeping quiet. It would be unrealistic for them to remain quiet unless they happen to be sleeping, so try not to worry too much about noise.”
- Take a deep breath
The added stress of squabbling siblings or toddler tantrums can be one of the hardest things to deal with in an already stressful situation.
Joanne adds: “If children become irritable or distressed this is likely to add to feelings of pressure that may already be around for parents. It’s worth remembering though that behaviour is a form of communication. Children may use behaviour as a way of alerting parents when they need their attention.
“Under the pressure of feeling embarrassed in a public place parents may understandably just want their child to conform, but taking a few moments to notice and respond more fully to what is going on may prove more helpful in resolving the situation.”
- Enjoy the quality time
Getting much needed rest on a longhaul flight is desirable for every passenger, but don’t worry too much if your child can’t sleep. Most planes now offer a complimentary entertainment package, so take advantage and use the screen time to keep children entertained.
Joanne advises seeing the journey as an opportunity. “The concentrated amount of time spent together on a plane journe
y gives the availability for families to spend quality time in one another’s company,” she explains.
- Prepare as much as you can
Joanne advises that, “Parents have a lot to bear in mind when trying to remember everything needed for a journey. If parents can decide beforehand between themselves how they will manage and share tasks on the day of travel, they are more likely to feel relaxed themselves and this will influence of how the children feel.”
Holidays can be exciting for the whole family, but getting through the airport and onto the plane can be stressful. Remember the entire family is out o
f their comfort zone and some nerves alongside the excitement can be common.
- Remember your little bag of tricks
Pack your carry on carefully, and make sure you have some comforts to help your child feel at home. This could be a favourite toy, a blanket or snacks that you pick up in duty free. Ensuring that you have a little box of tricks handy is key to help keep children entertained and in their seat for as long as possible
Another way of ensuring children stay in their seat is to discuss the health and safety reasons for them doing so. Joanne notes: “This may be something to talk about prior to a journey, as a way of preparing children for what to expect. How much to talk to a child about this will depend on their age and their curiosity about it.”
- Travel pillow.
Depending on the age of the child a travel pillow could be a great purchase. It allows them to get a good sleep on the plane without feeling uncomfortable. They are cheap to buy and provides real comfort.
As well as the top five ways to keep children happy while travelling, other stressful aspects of flying that parents noted in the research were keeping kids entertained, finding food they like, changing nappies, having room to play and dealing with travel sickness.
However, Florida4Less believes that travelling with your family doesn’t need to be a stressful experience.
Jon Moulding, co-founder and director at Florida4Less, said: “We all know how stressful travelling with young children can be, that’s why it’s vital to plan ahead to make holidays run as smoothly as possible.
“Organising all the finer travel details in advance, such as car hire, attraction tickets and dining will give you less to worry about once you land, and allow you to focus your attention on the things that matter. Most travel providers can now tailor make a holiday to meet your family’s unique needs, which can help the whole trip go much more smoothly.”
A lot of parents worry about flying with children and how they will cope on a short or long journey. However, it is important to remember, children are children and everyone has been a child and most people have had children, so other parents will understand if a child is not enjoying the flight. Our top tips on flying with children, should help solve a lot of problems that some parents have.
To learn more about Florida for less visit http://www.florida4less.co.uk
By Anita Wells