Traveling with children is not always easy, especially on a five and a half hour flight to Hawaii from the mainland. However, with a little preparation, your traveling time can be as smooth as a baby's bottom. Well, maybe not that smooth, but we can definitely help work out the toddler kinks!
Kids like being in charge so give them something to be in charge of. A backpack is perfect because it stays put, unlike a bag which can slip off their shoulder and you end up with one more thing to carry.
Put all your favorite ideas from the list below and let them take charge! One advantage to this idea is you have built in In-Flight Entertainment as well as stuff for them to do once you reach your destination.
There's never enough time in the day to read to the kids so take the opportunity of the long plane ride for some one-on-one. Pack your kids' favorite books for you to read or easy reader books for them to read by themselves. There's no reason to plug their brains into electronics for the whole flight. Expand their imagination through the endless possibilities in a good book.
Car seat on the plane
One way to rein in a squirrelly toddler is to take their car seat on the plane. This has worked really well for our kids. They behave much better - which keeps everyone happy. They actually are able to rest and fall asleep easier in their car seat just as they often do when riding in the car.
Check with your airline for any requirements as to where you can place the car seat on the plane. We had one flight attendant tell us it should always be at the window seat. That provided one more source of entertainment - the great outdoors!
The downside with any small, round object is it rolls if you drop it and then it's gone. You're left with one unhappy camper. Even a sippy cup can create problems but you'll probably take your chances with that one.
So, if coloring is your child's favorite pastime then pack in the coloring books, but go easy on the crayons, and keep an available hand to help hold the ones he or she's not using.
Comfort Toys for Small Children
You can never have enough props for entertaining that last 20-30 minutes of the flight when everyone is ready to get off. Some of our favorite games to play with a blanket or cuddle friend are peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.
Divide and Conquer - Don't Lose the Kids.
DVDs/movies and personal DVD players
Sit an adult in between two children to be in control of the DVD player. This eliminates power struggles between the kids. It sounds like a scary place to be, but it sure beats having to control upset children. We always bring the movies we know they will watch and stay occupied with. If we're lucky they may even fall asleep.
Next Page > More Great Tips for Traveling With Kids
Ear Problems - Babies
Some ideas to try: Bottles of juice and/or water, pacifier, jello jigglers with extra Knox gelatin (this is messy but the kids love it!), or any Gerber baby type snacks. They dissolve quickly in the mouth eliminating a choking hazard. Be sure to read the safety precaution on the label before buying.
Our favorite Gerber snacks are the stars (lots of flavors), fruit snacks (these start dissolving almost instantly) and baby cereal bars.
Ear Problems - Toddlers and Older Children
Mess Clean Up
If you're on an early morning flight try some cut up apples or bring a banana or two. A fun trail mix with some granola, their favorite cereal and dried fruit can be a refreshing change from sugary snacks. Good old fashioned PB&J's are hearty sandwiches and can usually take a beating pretty well.
Whatever you choose, throw in a few of the mainstay favorites along with some healthy choices. Then you won't feel so bad seeing them eat through the entire flight. BONUS TIP: Don't put their snacks in their special backpacks or bags. While it's great for them to be in charge of their games or coloring books, you may not want them in charge of snacktime. I always travel with a big carry-on bag with all the goodies I need for my kids for the flight. Then I have control over who gets what snacks and when.
I can still offer them choices (so they retain a little independence) but it's within my limits.
I've found that if I put a small surprise or two in my kids travel backpacks it's like Christmas Day - a new book to read, page of stickers, small toy to play with, activity book with puzzles and mazes or (if they're really lucky) a new movie to watch.
We hope that some of these tips for traveling with children will make your next vacation to Hawaii more enjoyable for everyone.
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