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Flying With Kids

A guide to keeping it all OK

1. Dress ‘em
Kids get uncomfortable and restless on planes – there’s really no avoiding that. There’s ways to minimise the fall-out though. Make sure the kids’ are wearing slip on shoes which can be kicked off and slipped back on whenever the feeling strikes, and avoid pant belts – an unnecessary burden during mid-air bathroom emergencies!

2. Stock App
Before you leave for the airport, make sure you stock up on brand new tablet apps for the kids. One of our family favourites is Alphabet Flashcards, a fantastic, intuitive little educational app that helps your child learn the alphabet through interactive flash cards and adorable little animal animations.

3. Basic toys
Of course, you may not want your little one glued to a screen for 23 hours from Sydney to London. In this case, there’s some great basic non-tech toys you can bring on the flight to keep the kids busy and engaged throughout. Masking tape is a great one for toddlers. Sounds pretty basic, but my two-year-old loves ripping pieces off and sticking them to everything – including her face – for hours. Crayons, of course, are another great basic toy solution for long flights. Try getting them to draw all the things they can see out the window if you’re flying low enough.

junior flyer book

4. Indulge in the wonder of flying
You’re in the sky! What!? Don’t forget that flying is a tremendous feat of engineering, and while you are probably used to it, the kids can still think it’s a pretty magical experience. Try your best to instantiate this sense of wonder in your kids each time they fly.

5. Make-believe
Going through security can be a daunting experience for littlies. There were quite a few tears the first time our son approached the metal detector (not helped by a particularly grumpy security officer!) Our tip? Turn the metal detector into a magical fortress for the kids to venture into – you’ll be surprised how willing they are to zip straight through and discover the world that waits beyond!

6. Be a Junior Flyer
Flying is an experience that’s like none other, and kids always remember their first few times. To record these experiences as your little adventurer grows, Vanessa Mann has published Junior Flyer, a great little 96-page logbook where you and your child can record the details of up to 36 flights to remember for years to come. The logbook also features fantastic extras like illustrations, flying fun facts, educational profiles of common passenger aircraft, trivia and pull out maps. Retailing for just AUD$22, The Junior Flyer logbook is available online and in selected bookstores in Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

flying with kids

7. Advance your apology (but in a creative way!)
The best way to keep your fellow passengers on-side when flying with kids is to make sure those in front, to the side, and behind you know you're sorry before anything happens. Giving prior warning is a light-hearted way to open a dialogue with those around you, and with a cheeky greet-and-warn, you'll be better placed to avoid those nasty passive aggressive overwrought aspirations from the super important businessman sitting in front of you whose entire life has been torn to pieces because of your briefly crying child.

8. Gum for all!
Make sure everyone that's old enough has gum on take-off and landing. It's delicious and the chewing action helps the kids' ear pressure and avoids unwanted pops and blocks. Also, it keep their little mouths busy for a while so you can enjoy some peace and quiet. Except for the sound of the jet engine. But it's the little wins, right?

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