A summer holiday can be daunting if you’ve never flown with children before. Our Senior Manager, Heather Clark, has recently returned from her first family holiday abroad with her two nursery-age children. Here are her top tips for all Little Houghton Day Nursery parents.
As a working mum of a 2 year old and a 9 month old, I naturally spent the months leading up to our first family holiday abroad worrying about all manner of things.
What will the children be like on the flight?
What happens if I forget nappy wipes?
How on earth am I supposed to fit everything into that tiny bag?
It almost became more appealing to stay at home!
Pre-launch date, I grilled all my parent-friends about how they managed when they went abroad. And with a bit of trial and error, I came up with a few ideas which helped to make my holiday stress-free.
- Check the airlines website for the rules on what you can take with you. Often airlines will allow you to take an extra changing bag on board which you can keep by your feet for easy access.
- Pack (cheap) toys that your children haven’t seen before. I trawled the pound shop for lucky dips bags, fancy pens and paper sets. Children seem to be attracted to cheap tacky toys – it may be a saving grace when a tantrum is brewing. Hide them away until the flight so they are new and interesting to them.
- Try to travel at ‘good times’. If your little one usually sleeps around midday, try to travel then so they will hopefully sleep whilst you travel
- Pack travel wash! Instead of taking umpteen changes of clothes, wash clothes in the hotel bathroom sink if necessary. They quickly dry in the heat.
- Try not to be tempted to feed children high-sugar treats to keep them ‘sweet’ – I made this mistake once and whilst it seemed like a good idea a first, my daughter soon became restless, hyper and then ‘crashed’ into a tired and emotional mess. Good snack options for toddlers are vegetable sticks and cheese cubes.
- Where possible, book your seats. Airlines often overbook their seats and will sometimes ‘bump’ to the next flight, those who haven’t pre-booked a seat number. However, if all goes well, airlines often let people with children board as a priority which is an added bonus.
- If flying with very little ones, try to encourage the use of dummies if they have one as the sucking can help with the pressure on their ears. If you are bottle or breast feeding, encourage them to feed intermittently during the flight.
- If travelling with children who aren’t yet walking, a baby carrier could be a godsend at the airport. Often you need to check your buggy in early, which means then carrying a little one through the airport. Unless you have Popeye muscles, this can soon become tiring! You can buy carriers fairly cheaply now and certain brands will fold up to easily fit in your bag.
- Speak to older children before the flight, explain what is going to happen, that they will need to sit in their chair for the flight. Often children are very receptive to new things once they have an idea of what is going to happen.
- And finally…try to relax. I am a terrible worrier so this is easy for me to say! However, children very quickly feed off our emotions and this could then lead them to be apprehensive about the flight.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes and use Facebook if you have any more top tips for fellow parents 🙂