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Kids on a plane… Mum’s going insane!

Kids on a plane… Mum’s going insane!
7th April 2017 Laura Griffin

Tips for flying with the children:

It’s that time of year again where we’re starting to think about those Easter or Summer holidays. Whatever type of trip you’re planning with the family, you can guarantee there will be a checklist. . And I’m no different, As much as the thought of going away with the family excites me, , the one thing that haunts me a little, well that’s a lie, it’s a lot actually, is the thought of a four hour plane journey with four kids.  And this four hour plane journey already starts four hours prior with the car journey to get to the airport and the two hour wait in check-in before the flight.  How on earth do I keep my kids entertained as well as my sanity?  So this year, I have decided to try and prepare a little for my journey and after a lot of reading and hearing about other peoples’ flight journeys I thought I’d can offer some tips for what you could try out yourselves on your adventures  this summer.I have read through copious amounts of blogs and essential guides to flying to help me out and the general consensus I’m getting is that the biggest fear us parents have are the children acting up and the subsequent judging looks from other passengers and i would have to agree, these are my top two worries.  But what can we do to help alleviate some of these fears?  Well when it comes to the judging looks from other passengers, absolutely nothing.  Chances are when you get off that plane you will never see them again and their huffs and puffs will have to go do one as all you need to concern yourself with is keeping your kids happy and yourself sane. You can do this, you went through hours of pain and torture to get your little darlings into this world, a few hours on a plane, will be challenging but i have faith in you and in myself that this can be pulled off!

So these are my top tips to getting to your destination in one piece, ok maybe with a bit of hair loss!

Let go old school.  Yes we can have the portable DVD’s and tablets to hand but let’s think of something that can involve your interaction to and hopefully this can keep them entertained a little longer and maybe finish off with a DVD and a nap may follow.


  • Pack an activity travel back pack consisting of colouring books, word searches, sticker books. This will keep them going for a little bit and even you, we all love to do a bit of colouring on the sly, think of it as a therapeutic activity, instil the first wave of calmness.


  • Cards – I absolutely loved playing cards when i was a kid, especially for pennies with my grandparents and my kids have followed suit and love playing cards too. This is great time with them, gets their little brains working and let’s not forget the fact that it’s fun – especially if they are winning money for their holiday treats.


  • Good old fashioned paper and pen – another game I used to love playing with my grandparents was Boy, Girl, Fruit, Flower. This will keep them entertained for a little while, our list sometimes ends up with a lot more than boy, girl, fruit, flower. With three boys, we get football teams and stadiums added to the lists, which i fail miserably at but a great one for the dads, also countries is a good one to.  Add a bit of geography into the mix, you’ll be covering all their school subjects at this rate!


  • Braid a bracelet – this one is probable more for the girls but my boys probably would have a go as it’s crafty. These packs are great fun and easy and no bitty pieces. It’s basically wool and clip on charms.  Plaiting the wool to make a bracelet and pop on a charm.  Great little holiday fashion accessory.  You may come off the plane with an arm full of bracelets just be sure to take them off if you have the metal charms on them as you could set off the metal scanners, something you probably don’t want at 2am in the morning.


  • Post-it game – this is basically the post it version of the heads up game. Pop a person, character, animal etc on your post it and give it to the other person playing and put it on to their head.  They can then start the guessing game.  Object of game is getting them to guess what is written on the post it and you have to give them clues without saying the answer… so if they have a picture of animal on their head, give them all the clues they need to figure out what that animal is.


  • Take a pillow, headphones and plenty of snacks & drinks in their back pack. A pillow is essential if you have a late flight and they get tired, also the headphones too, as the whole plane may not want to listen to Peppa pig.


  • DS or other handheld consoles/tablets – these can be used a pacifier when all else fails. I would make sure that if you are using a tablet, to pre download all games and videos ready as the last thing you need is to have this to hand and nothing can be used unless you have wifi, so make sure games can be played wifi free.  I would use these on the last leg of the journey, when they might be getting a little restless, and hopefully it may settle them down for that last hour & half.


A few other tips!


  • Make sure you have a jacket on board for them as the plane can get chilly with the air conditioner.


  • Pop some 5ml sachets of calpol and paracetamol in your hand luggage just in case. The taking off and landing can sometimes affect your ears and the last thing they need to be on a long journey is to be in pain.  Also another tip is get some sweets or a lollypop for them to suck on during take-off and this may help.  My sixyear old suffers terribly with his ears so this is something i am really worried about.  I will get some earplugs to for him just in case.


  • My sister is travelling with her 8 month old so I know this will be a trying time for her and her husband as they also have a 4 year to keep entertained. Thankfully, regulations have now changed allowing you to be able to take breast milk, formula, pureed food or pre-mixed food over 100mls without having to be tested.


I saw a tip from another mum on how she popped cheerios and raisins in a pot for the little ones to snack on, i thought this was a good idea, little ones love playing with snack food especially bitty ones.  Another tip for travelling with a small baby, take it in turns with your partner or family members if possible to give you a bit of break if they are getting very wriggly and take change of clothes and wet wipes because if they are sicky babies they are not going to want to sit in wet clothes as this can make them even more miserable.

So that’s it.  I’m hoping I will get to my holiday destination stress free but I’m not banking on it, at least I will have seven days of relaxing before I have to do this all over again.

Enjoy your summer holidays and if you have any tips you can send my way I would be very grateful to hear your views.  Don’t be afraid to post.

And breath, you’re not alone, thousands of families fly every year and we all keep coming back to do it all over again.

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