Flying to Go See Family? How To Keep The Kids Entertained on Long Travel Days

The holidays are meant for spending time with family. Usually this means making a trip to go see the grandparents or other extended family. Traveling with children can be overwhelming and stressful, but making sure the kids have enough to stay preoccupied is key! Here’s how to keep the kids entertained on long travel days.

  1. Snacks: First and foremost, you’ll have a miserable trip if you have hungry toddlers. Bring plenty of snacks to keep them cool, calm, and collected. Have a variety of things to give them in case they don’t want one of the snacks. You can stick to your guns about healthy food choices, but an airplane is also not the best place to have a food battle with your child. Understand that this is stressful for them too, so give them a little freedom in what they choose to eat.
    You can pack and bring with you some of their favorite foods from home so you don’t have to scurry around the airport trying to find kid-approved snacks. It’ll take a little extra time through TSA, but it can be worth it in the long run. As long as it’s not liquid, you’ll be able to bring it with you.
  2. Apps: Have a tablet or smart device set up for your kids to use. Download some of their favorite games to play. Some of the favorite airplane apps are Disney Story Central, Moo Baa La-La-La!, Pacca Alpacca, and The Robot Factory. Games are great to keep your kids’ minds active and learning during the flight and layover times.
  3. Journal: Have a few colored pens or pencils with you, and a blank journal. For younger kids, encourage them to draw or write their letters. For the older kids, give them creative writing tasks, let them make cards and notes for the family you’ll be visiting, or let them practice drawing. It doesn’t take much to spur on a kid’s imagination.  
  4. Books: eBooks or paperback books are great for long trips. It’s nice for the kids to have an activity that stimulates their mind as well as keeps them occupied. It can also help keep you occupied by reading to your child. Download new books on your electronic device to give your child plenty of options. The younger they are, the faster they will blow through books.
  5. Small Toys: Let your child pack a few small toys in the carry on so that you can easily access it. A small doll, an action figure, or a stuffed animal is a great option. It’s small enough that it won’t take up too much space, but large enough that it won’t fall on the ground in the plane, and get lost. It can be a comfort for the kids to have their favorite toys with them on long stressful flights to places they’ve never been before. It can also give them something to do, and play with during the flight.
  6. Movies: When you want your child to start winding down, give them a tablet with downloaded movies or shows on it. Have a pair of earphones that your child is comfortable wearing so you don’t disturb the travelers around you. After a few shows, you’ll be at your destination.

Before you begin your trip, explain to your child what to expect during the trip. Give them clear expectations of what flying will be like, as well as how to behave at the airport. Giving them some guidelines will help ease their fears, and make the trip better for everyone.

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