This is a guest post by Jane Blackmore
I have always adored holidays and travelling; before the children arrived I enjoyed staring at sunsets in Costa Rica, being overwhelmed by sensational scenery in Kenya and living the high life in New York City. Since having my family, our holidays have taken a more conservative turn; we are more prone to discovering beauty spots in the UK, or jumping aboard a plane to soak up the sun on cheap package holidays.
The fear of travelling with small ones is something that bites many parents and turns them from being fun loving backpackers into avid promoters of staycations. Owing to my love of hotels, beaches, and adventures we have never fallen into this parent trap, and over the years we have developed six fail safe ways to travel with the children.
1. When flying, ensure you consider and plan the journey to the airport in precise detail. The more organised you are the more everything is guaranteed to run smoothly. Book your car park, know when the shuttle bus will collect you, allocate one parent to check in (if you have not checked in online beforehand) and one to play eye spy in the airport with the small ones. Prior planning makes pleasant parenting!
2. Again when flying off to sunnier climates make sure you prepare the children for the sensation of take-off – ear ache for three hours is painful for both mother and child. Have some sweets ready to suck, or a bottle or breast for a baby and get them to swallow hard to relive the tension.
3. Take food, and plenty of it. In short it is hard to run wild when tucking into your favourite snacks. Every journey we go on involves us making a packed lunch of epic proportions. It contains all the kids’ favourite things, and as our children are still young we try and delight with dinosaur shaped sandwiches and mystery parcels which hide chocolate treats. We have had car picnics, airport lounge lunches and feasts on ferries.
4. Flying with a toddler is always challenging; they get restless easily and won’t settle for long. While they simply adore playing ‘race up the airplane aisle’, this seems to annoy passengers is frowned upon by air hostesses after their feet have been stamped on one too many times.
Ways to keep your energetic terror entertained include taking favourite books, stickers, small etch a sketches, but the way that seems pretty failsafe is to introduce a DVD player or tablet on which you can stream their favourite TV shows.
5. For primary aged children, classic puzzle books and school work seem to be a great way to keep them occupied on a long flight. My two seven year olds always bring their homework on a plane because they know once they have got it done it doesn’t interfere with the holiday. A great incentive to get ahead and an easy way to keep them happy.
About the author: Jane Blackmore is a freelance writer, editor and blogger whilst also being mum to three. In her spare time she can often be found gazing at holiday brochures, watching trashy TV and looking forward to her nightly G&T.