Flying with toddlers is often a worry for first-time parents. Toddler meltdowns can be a real nightmare on the flight when everyone is shooting dirty looks your way. Mumtrepreneur Jacinth shares about how she makes the plane ride for her children more than just watching movies or tv shows.
Jacinth is the founder of Our Little Play Nest and her main mission is to help parents become actively involved in their children’s early years. She is also a proud stay-at-home mum of 2 and travels with her family at least once a year. She has been to many places around the world with them, such as Australia, Hong Kong and even New York (with just her son!). Therefore she has a lot of great mum hacks for making the plane ride more fun and enjoyable!
Prepare beforehand if you want to enjoy the flight
It is very important to prepare your children for the trip. Here are 2 simple things you can do:
- Borrow books about the airport and the plane ride from the library.
When children go to a new environment, they are unsure of what to do and feel uncomfortable. The books will let them know about air pressure and the ear pain they will feel during takeoff and landing. It will also tell them about how their baggage will be collected, what to do at the boarding gate and what it means to go through security screening.
- Do role-play with your children at home by pretending that you are on a plane.
Use 2 chairs and get them to pretend to buckle their seat belts. Include potential problems like for example what would happen if one of them did not want to buckle their seatbelt. Get them to solve this problem! This will prepare them when they get on the plane for the first time.
Read more: Packing for a Trip with Toddlers.
DIY In-flight entertainment
1. Bag of ‘Tricks’
In addition to your children’s favourite toys, Jacinth shares about other items you can bring along with you on your trip to keep your children entertained. All these items can be placed in different bags so that you can bring out only what you need instead of everything at the same time. This comes in handy when you’re on a flight with limited space! Avoid bringing out all the items at once if your child is happy. Only when they start to get fussy, you can bring out the different items one at a time to distract them.
What Kinds of Bags of ‘Tricks’ Can You Create?
- Wrapped toys, so your child can occupy themselves as they slowly unwrap the wrapping paper to reach the toys
- Small and light books in a series
- Card games to entertain older kids
- Art supplies like crayons, post-its, dot stickers and popsicle sticks with velcro
- Colouring and sticker books
2. Reusable Activity File
Jacinth recommends bringing an A4 File with pockets with you on your trip. This way you can print anything you know your children would like and put it in the file. You can find many free resources on the Internet to do this. The plastic pockets also allow your child to do the activities and erase subsequently for reuse.
What you can put in the file:
- Colouring pages
- Tracing and mazes printables
- A scavenger hunt (when your children find the items, they can simply circle it!)
- Your children’s favourite stickers and a sticker book
- Maps like the one of the Singapore Zoo and they can try and locate all the animals
3. DIY Travel Journal
Another thing Jacinth does for every trip is to put together a travel journal for her children. Not only will it keep them occupied on the plane, but they also get to learn about the places they are travelling to and serve as precious memories of their travels.
What is in the Journal:
- A world map – for your child to see where the destination country is and what its size is compared to Singapore
- The flags of Singapore and the country you are travelling to (your child can even colour the flags!)
- Different parts of the plane and learning about time through penning down the duration of the flight
- Drawings of their travel companions
- A section where your child can journal their daily activities when overseas
- A space to paste the flight tickets
Travel Entertainment Do’s and Dont’s
Here’s Jacinth’s quick guide on some things you should and should not do with regards to entertaining your child on a flight.
“It is very different to travel with children when compared to travelling with adult companions. The memories you create and build with them become meaningful as they grow up.”
– Jacinth Liew