7 Ways To Occupy Kids On A Long Haul Flight

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Children and Vacations: How To Have a Calm Flight

Vacations bring some of the most memorable experiences you’ll ever have. Planning and organizing your family’s travel can make the difference between having a trying, tiring flight or a calm and restful one.

Here are some ways to make your flight enjoyable for everyone:

  1. Get the kids emotionally *ready* for the trip. Gather all the necessary information in advance about your travel destination and share this information with your children to prepare them for the trip.
  • Plan an activity each day that the children will like.
  • Discuss these activities with your children in advance so they’ll have something to look forward to.
  1. Read a book about flying. If your children are seven years old or younger, look for books about flying that are written for their age ranges. Preparing children through stories and pictures can go a long way in quelling any fears they might have about riding an airplane.
  • Make the storytime fun and add in some of your own flying experiences for discussions with your youngsters.
  • For children who’ve flown before, talk about the prior trip to help refresh their memories.
  1. Take something familiar. Take a familiar item along for the ride to serve as a calming influence for your child.
  • Help the kids select a favorite small toy or belonging to provide a sense of security during the flight.
  • Instead of a new toy, choose a well-loved item. This might be a stuffed animal your child sleeps with or carries with him throughout the day.
  1. Include simple, inexpensive toys and games your children enjoy. Purchase some of these items to pack in your carry-on bag. Then, pull out surprises every hour or so during the plane ride.
  • Plan to have enough surprise items for the trip home as well.
  • For example, if your son enjoys crossword puzzles, buy a new crossword puzzle magazine and pack it with a pencil.
  • Maybe your daughter enjoys reading and has a favorite author. You might surprise her with a new book by her favorite author to read on the plane.
  1. Fun gadgets keep their attention. Let’s not forget the incredible benefit of technological gadgets to keep the kids occupied during the flight. If your kids are old enough to have their own gadgets, whether to play games, listen to music or watch movies, ensure they’re packed in the carry-on.
  • If it’s feasible, give your kids a new game or new music for the trip. This could keep them quiet, calm and occupied for the duration of the plane ride.
  1. Consider the flight as quality time. Engage the kids in discussions of subjects you want to talk about with them.
  • Listen to each of your kids talk about school, their favorite subjects, and their current interests.
  • When the kids wind down from this discussion, shift gears and bring out some of those little surprises mentioned earlier.
  1. Be aware of how the seating arrangement on the flight determines whether the flight is calm or calamitous. If your two children bicker frequently, it may be wise to have them sit on either side of you to keep a little distance between them during the flight.
  • Another option is to seat the children side by side to see if being together helps keep them occupied with positive interactions.
  • If need be, you can switch the children’s seats later to separate them.

Planning ahead for your family’s flight increases your chances of having a peaceful travel experience. Follow the above suggestions to ensure that your family will arrive at your vacation destination relaxed, calm and ready to enjoy a memorable family vacation.

children window airport travel occupied
kids family on airplane playing

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