5 things I wish I’d known about flying long haul with kids

Primary teacher Lesley-ann Rosenberg shares the things she learned flying from Brisbane to London with her 11-year-old son.

5 mins

1. Flight crew actually like kids

I was really dreading how flight staff – and other passengers – would react to my son. You hear so many horror stories. But the attendants on our flight made sure we had everything we needed and went out of their way to be friendly to my son and make sure he enjoyed his flight too. It’s always a winner when someone is kind to your kid. And my son reacted positively to it as well.

2. You can not have too many books. Or colouring pencils.

On a long flight, you really do need to have all your entertainment options covered. Sure, they can watch movies and play games on the console provided. But when they get bored of that there are still a lot of hours to fill.

My advice would be to load up your devices with their favourite games and take as many books, colouring pads as you can carry.

Also, there are only a handful of kids movies to choose from onboard, so load up your iPad with your own collection to avoid the temptation of the age inappropriate offerings.

3. Watch out for soft drink overload

Keep an eye on how much soft drink your kids consume. Flight staff are constantly walking up and down the aisle offering drinks and, chances are, your kids will think of it as a mobile version of all-you-can-drink soda fountain in Nandos.

A child hyped up on sugar in a small confined space is not a good combination. I limited my son’s intake to one small soft drink with meals.

4. But give them plenty of water

Make sure your kids drink lots of water. It might mean a few extra trips to the bathroom during the flight but they get dehydrated and grumpy as well.

5. Take a break

The best thing we did was break our journey at Bangkok. It was only an overnight stay in a hotel near the airport, but it meant we one night’s sleep in a proper bed. My son was too excited to sleep on the plane, especially while it was light, and only nodded off when he ‘hit the wall’ and couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer.

Main image: Boy on plane playing with toy plane (Shutterstock.com)

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