The S-Mum, Maria, shares her tips that will help make flying with little ones as stress-free as possible.
Flying solo with Wobblers.
Yes I know that the school holidays are nearly over, but with schools reopening and prices dropping drastically, lots of families with Wobblers are still looking forward to jetting off to the sun over the next few weeks.
We didn’t do a family holiday abroad this year, but myself and the two dollies DID abandon The Him to fly to Scotland to visit my sister. Here are my 9 top tips if you’re navigating the airport and flying with the kiddies:
1. Give yourself plenty of time. Gone are the days of rocking up at the airport an hour before your flight. With minions on tow, you will need LOTS of time. Unpredictable hunger, poonamis and tantrums can add extra stress to your journey if you are against the clock. And when there isn’t another adult with you to offset the drama, you’ll need as little stress as possible.
2. Make sure to do nappy checks and toilet trips just before you board. Trying to change a Baby’s nappy in a 15 inch cubicle is difficult, and while you obviously can’t KNOW that they won’t need changed on the flight, a clean nappy just before takeoff, (especially on a short flight) does no harm. And if your threenager declares that they have to go to the loo just as the seatbelt sign comes on for takeoff, the next 10 minutes WILL be the longest of your life. Trust me.
3. Check in a bag. When you’re traveling with kids, don’t give yourself the extra stress of trying to pull little cases around with you. Put a big case in the hold and pack ESSENTIALS in your large handbag and get small backpacks for the kids. (I made the mistake of getting a little bag for Princess. It ended up being something else for me to carry and it flew home in the large case in the hold!) I see lots of kids with Trunkies, but for me, my two are too young for them and I know I would end up dragging them behind me as well as the kids.
4. Board the plane LAST. See those “Would passengers with small children please make their way…” announcements? IGNORE THEM! You sit patiently at the gate, double check the nappy situations, make sure the buggy is absolutely empty and that the kids have everything zipped into their bags and wait until the end. Your seats aren’t going anywhere.
They’ll still have to take your buggy at the steps and when you board the plane, you’ll avoid all of the mayhem of overhead reaches and “Scuse me, Sorry, Can I get past yadda yadda”. Also, the less time you have between doors closing and take-off, the better, especially if you have a baby on your knee.
5. Keep your bags at your feet. If you have a baby or wobbler strapped on your knee, you won’t be able to get up and down to the overhead bins anyway. And be sure that you have packed the essentials at the top of the bag so you don’t break your back searching at the bottom of the bag.
6. Only pack essentials in your handbag: Babywipes (obviously!), Calpol sachets, Teething granules (so good for calming Baby), a large Baby muslin cloth (You never know what liquids you’ll suddenly need to contain!), Lollipops (see point 7), snacks, tissues, water and a small nappy pouch.
7. Pack lollipops in the front pocket. I’ve always found that the only way to stop little ears from popping on take-off and landing is to give them a lollipop to suck on. For Babies, if they need fed on take-off, problem solved.
8. Put zip-up hoodies or cardigans on the kids for travelling. If one decides they want their top off because it’s too hot, it’s terribly hard to get it off, especially if you have a mini on your knee. This goes for you too. Make sure your layers are light and easy to get on and off.
9. Kiddy Backpacks! There’s a reason Dora the Explorer had one. Fill them with treats and don’t let them open them until they get on the flight. On a longer flight, let them take something new out of the bag every hour.
Books, Mini magna-doodles, mini activity books, sticker books and crayons are a Godsend on a flight, no matter what age your kids are. If you’re on a longer flight and have a tablet or device for them to watch Peppa Pork on, make sure they have headphones or you MAY drive everyone around you insane.
I was terrified of flying with both of them by myself, but apart from the few minutes of trying to push the big case and the Buggy INTO the airport, it was quite stress-free. Airports are lovely noisy places, so you’ll be surprised at how distracted and amused they’ll be. I was amazed by Princess. She loves to roam, but she quite happily spent an hour standing on the sofa looking out at the planes.
To those of you yet to jet off, I’m not at ALL jealous. Have a wonderful time. To those of you who HAVE navigated the airport with minions this summer, please feel free to share your top tips in the comments below!
Don’t forget to follow my daily smumblings over on Facebook @the.s.mum and I’d love if you would check out my website https://www.the.smum.com It’s mid makeover at the minute and I’m delighted with how it’s looking.