Long flights can be a real pain for parents, as restless kids will make the trip seem even longer. Don’t get stuck on a plane with nothing for them to do. Be prepared and you’ll thank yourself later.
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#1: Smartphone or Tablet
Handing your child a smartphone or tablet seems like the most obvious choice for a long flight, especially if they have their own and are already familiar with it. With all of the different apps available including games, puzzles, and entertainment geared for kids it can chew through a few hours of flight time with no problem.
At some point though, they will likely want to do something else or they will be tired of staring at a screen. That’s when you’ll want to have some backup activities planned.
#2: Strategic Timing of Activities
Doling out your different activities at strategic times is crucial if you want to make it through the flight as painlessly as possible. One big mistake is to keep giving them games and other activities one after the other and running out of new things with several hours still left on the trip.
Take your total flight time, divide that by the number of activities you have planned, and try to stick to that timetable throughout the flight. If you have an 8-hour flight and four different things to do try to space them out over two-hour increments. Or you can make it easier on yourself and bring eight different things to do, spreading them out over one-hour intervals.
#3: Stickers and Activity Books
Stickers are a great way to keep them actively engaged in what they’re doing, and they may even lose track of the time. There are sticker books that make it so you have to find which stickers go in which pages and place them in their designated spot. There are also activity books that have unique and engaging tasks for kids to complete.
#4: Snack Time
Airlines are cutting back on the amount of food they give you during a flight, but international flights usually have more food provided for free, including full meals. Bring your own supply of their favorite snacks and hand them out in between airline-provided meals and snacks.
All sorts of puzzles are good to bring on an airplane because they will take some time to figure out. Of course, you can’t lay out a giant thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, but smaller-sized puzzles that will fit on the folding tray will work for younger kids. And older kids can play word puzzles or sudoku-style mental games.
#6: Greeting Card Crafts
If you are traveling to meet family members you can do a greeting card craft activity with your child. That way when they show up they will have a handmade card to give to aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends. They will really appreciate it and you’ll have kept them busy for at least an hour.
Audiobooks for kids are perfectly suited for airplane travel. While your child might not want to read on the plane, they may be more inclined to listen to a book read to them by their favorite author. These should not only keep them entertained but can block out some of the engine noise so they have a better flight overall.