5 ways to prepare your child for their first long haul flight.

posted in: Travelling with kids | 1

Heading overseas with your kids for the first time? Prepare your child for the flight with these easy steps.

Prepare for patience: Explain that they will need to be patient. That although the holiday will be fun, getting there will take some time. ? Is it a nine-hour flight? If your child is old enough to understand the concept of time then one morning explain that you have just boarded the plane, then nine hours later mention that you just landed.? If you really want your child to understand the concept of a nine-hour flight, belt them into the car for nine-hours with nothing but a book and their DS. Go and have some you-time while they’re there. (Ok … yes, I’m kidding and just checking that you’re actually reading this!)?

Fearless flying: Discuss any fears they might have and help alleviate them. Explain the actual process of flying long haul: you arrive at the airport and check your luggage in. You go through security etc etc… Look at the airline website and check out the planes. Some children will express a fear of being in a plane crash. Explain that there is more chance, statistically, of being kicked in the head by a donkey.

Plane packing: Even young kids can be responsible for their own in-flight entertainment. Ask them to place the things they’d like to take with them on the bed. Then, together, go through what is portable, what they really need to take, what they should leave behind (like the family cat, their saxophone and the whole series of Harry Potter in hardback). Train them to travel light.

Tricking time: There are 2 schools of thought with this one. I personally don’t bother—I stick to regular routines, let the kids sleep when they’re tired, and then deal with jetlag etc once we’re at the destination. I find that kids adjust quickly anyway. However, if time differences worry you, in the days leading up to your departure start to adjust your child’s patterns to the new time zone. That might mean going to bed a little later each night. This makes the final adjustment, on arrival, less painful. No need to go overboard—small adjustments help.?

Relax… no really: Be excited and relaxed about the trip. Children take their cues from their parents.