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Flying with Kids? 7 Tips to Keep Them Happy on Board

According to a recent British Airways survey, apparently a quarter of all parents asked were nervous of their children disturbing other passengers during a flight

... and another quarter were concerned about disrupting their child’s sleeping patterns. That’s not really news though is it? Let’s be honest, the thoughts of sitting on an aircraft for a couple of hours with the kids is not the most relaxing notion that springs to mind, and we’re their parents! There are things you can do that will make a difference, with just a small bit of planning ahead.

1. Get to the airport and check in early

...for several reasons. The obvious one is you will avoid the last minute stress of dashing through the airport with a by-then terrified child under your arms. But the main reason is that there is tonnes to do with kids at the airport! By checking in early, you can tire the littles ones out by bringing them to the play areas (most airports have them), going to see the planes take-off and land, going for food, looking at the shops, getting a treat... and include toilet stops in between all the above. The kids will be more than ready to sit down after all that activity.

2. Bring entertainment

While many parenting blogs warn not to forget packing an iPad and their favourite teddy on pain of public tantrum (worse than death!), I would suggest that the more creative and interactive the games, the better. By all means bring their teddy for comfort, and an iPad for long haul trips, but consider including the following items too: playdoh and shape sorters for small kids, colouring books and markers, sticker books/activity puzzle books, lego, jigsaws, loom bands/beading kits. None of these items are expansive and they will keep them absorbed for hours (well maybe at least an hour!).

3. And while we are on the subject

Dole the toys out at intervals. Better still, wrap them so the kids will feel they are getting presents and every half an hour or so you can give them something new to play with.

4. Bring headphones

If you are going to use gadgets, do make sure to bring headphones – there is nothing more irritating then Peppa Pig music on a loop.

5. Flights, as we all know, tend to dehydrate

So have plenty of drinks for them to sip on. Apparently sipping a bottle or a soother also helps to ease the pressure of take-off and landing. Lollipops would work similarly for bigger kids.

6. Snacks

Have plenty of snacks too, food to nibble on with the odd little treat will keep the hunger pangs at bay.

7. If at all possible

When you are choosing the flight, take their nap times and bedtimes into consideration. If you do want them to sleep during the flight, pack their pyjamas in your carry-on and give them some (warm) milk to help them sleep. You may even get some sleep yourself zzzzzz

Feel free to get in touch with us at The Stork Exchange if you’re looking for any travel tips or advice.

About the Author

I’m Olivia Mai, founder of The Stork Exchange and Mum to two small children. My third baby is the one I leave at home when I go on holidays, it’s called The Stork Exchange and it’s my little business. It is a children's equipment hire service that offers everything from child car seats, prams, buggies, cots and highchairs, to monitors, booster seats, buggy boards and pram bags. I started The Stork Exchange with my husband four years ago after a bad experience on holidays abroad with my kids. Fast forward four years and we now have two shops, one at Dublin Airport and one in Shannon. We work closely with a number of airlines and car rental companies and have spent three years developing our product range. That’s a lot of products to trail -- safety, durability and ease of use are top priorities. I constantly get asked questions by parents about travelling with kids -- what equipment to bring, what not to bring, what’s allowed by airlines, what’s not. Being at the airport day in day out means I am pretty close to it all and as a result have built up loads of knowledge, tips and nuggets of practical and useful info about the do’s and don’t of travelling with children. I also learn from the experience of other Mums and Dads. It’s great to be able to share this advice to help make the journey and holiday a bit smoother and easier for other parents. Want to get in touch? Email me at or call 087 255 8702 Check out my website and social channels at the icons above.


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