'Preparation is key' before embarking on a flight with young children and toddlers according to mummy blogger and travel publicist Shilpa from 'Must Be The Mummy'.
Here's how you can get your holiday off to a flying start
Any parent who has taken young children on a plane will know that it's not a walk in the park, and planning games, activities and creating a comfortable environment can be lifesavers. Shilpa says, 'we tend to find that the kids are so excited about going on a plane that a couple of hours into the flight their enthusiasm turns into exhaustion.'
With Shilpa's help, we've compiled a list of useful ideas for keeping your kids entertained and comfortable on a plane, so you know that you're super prepared before embarking on your summer holiday.
1. Get comfy
'A blanket, pillow and cuddles normally helps them get forty winks,' explains Shilpa.
Dress them in super soft and loose-fitting clothes or even pyjamas, with shoes that are easy to slip on and off. If you've got space in your hand luggage, bring a light blanket for them to snuggle in and sleep under, along with a small pillow to encourage them to get really cosy.
2. Grab a window seat
Try and book a window seat for them so during take off and landing they can gaze at all the buildings below. Shilpa says, 'my kids love looking out the window and using their imaginations to find care bears and animals in the cloud shapes.'
3. Meet the pilot
Build excitement by organising to meet the pilot – according to EasyJet, you should talk to the in-flight staff when you board the plane to ask if this is a possibility.
4. Stickers and colouring books
Shilpa says, 'we always make sure we have a couple of colouring books and pencils to keep the kids happy. And when those are exhausted there’s always Peppa Pig or Hank Zipzer on the iPad.'
You'll be surprised just how well stickers can keep a child entertained. Star Wars fans can pick up a Star Wars Sticker Encyclopedia; a fact-packed sticker book with more than 1,000 stickers to keep them going for hours. Alternatively, colouring books are a great option for children (and adults!) to pass the time. Pick up our Pokémon Creative Colouring book, Harry Potter Magical Creatures Colouring Book and Wonder Woman Colouring by DC Comics for hours of colouring fun.
5. Have something to read
Books can help build kids' imaginations and a great for taking on journeys. For kids who have just started school, anything by Julia Donaldson with beautiful illustrations will go down a treat - we love What The Ladybird Heard On Holiday. For older children, give them a new page-turner to get stuck into, like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K.Rowling or The Midnight Gang by David Walliams.
6. Invest in some snacks
'If we are going long haul, we make sure the kids are fed and watered before we get on the plane just in case the food on the flight isn’t a hit,' explains Shilpa. 'In addition, we always stock up after we have gone through passport control and buy favourites like raisins, cheese sandwiches and general toddler snacks before we board.'
Eating or drinking something whilst taking off and landing can also help take the pressure off your little one's ears. Things like raisins, granola bars or crackers will keep them satisfied and it will also mean they don't bother you for sugary treats off the trolley.
7. Card games
A pack of cards is the oldest and easiest form of entertainment and is well worth popping in your bag before a flight. Try teaching them simple games like snap and pairs, before venturing into rummy and solitaire. You can also pick up the brand new Despicable Me 3 Trading Cards - there are over 190 cards to collect, including movie story cards, puzzle cards and super special shiny cards in the game.
8. Back-up plan
When all else fails, load up your smartphone or tablet with age-appropriate apps to keep little ones occupied (or get an inexpensive children's gaming tablet), and give your fellow travellers a moment of peace and quiet. Download their favourite TV show or film to keep them quiet for hours. Don't forget to bring headphones!