Travelling with children can be a stressful and exhausting ordeal, as you battle with incessant whining, hungry mouths and the task of trying to keep them entertained during the journey! As the Christmas holidays approach, who better to offer their first-hand advice on dealing with temper tantrums and your little ones’ boredom, than Claire Irvin, Editor-in-Chief for Mother & Baby, the UK’s number one parenting magazine, and mother to two young children.
Here are Claire’s top ten tips for a less hectic trip with the youngsters:
1. Talk your child through your journey so they get excited. Be creative and choose to mention what you know they’ll enjoy/find interesting, for example, “we’ll then take our shoes off for security”, “and then we get on the plane”, and so on.
2. If travelling with a baby, make sure you breast or bottle feed during take-off when you’re on the plane – the sucking helps stop their ears popping. Take a lolly (sugar-free if you’re worried about them having sweets!) for toddlers.
3. On long train journeys, reserve a seat in advance – ensure it’s near a toilet and the exit so you don’t have far to lug the kids, suitcases, et al.
4. Make goodie bag style packages for long flights, with little things like a notebook and crayons, a packet of raisins, a strip of stickers, etc. in each one. Hand one of these out every select amount of time (e.g. every hour), depending on the length of the flight.
5. If your child has a particular comforter – perhaps a teddy bear or a blanket for example – try to buy another one before you go in case of loss. Of course the emergency replacement must remain secret, but it’s reassuring to know you’ve got back-up!
6. Remember, hunger is your enemy. Don’t underestimate the amount of snacks you may very well need.
7. Always take a first aid kit containing essentials like Calpol, Piriton, plasters and tubes of saline solution to squirt onto cuts or grazes to wash them on the go if need be.
8. Avoid taking an expensive buggy on a flight. It often gets knocked around in the hold, so it’s best to take a cheaper one.
9. If you’ve got a very active toddler (like my nearly-two-year-old), dress them in bright clothes – when they’re running around and letting off steam pre-flight, they’re much easier to spot!
10. Relax! Children will pick up on any tension and run with it. You’ll get there eventually, don’t worry!