Anyone with a baby or toddler may feel a sense of dread at the very thought of travelling for any length of time with their little one, and flights are particularly tricky due to being so contained.
My son Rowan is almost 19 months old now and has already been on a few flights, although nothing long-haul.
Our major worry in his 1st year was making sure we had everything he might need during the flight - nappies, milk, baby wipes etc and the concern that he might be scared or have sore ears and cry for the entire flight! However, he was a little star and no trouble at all.
Fast forward to this year and he can now walk and although he can't talk he can make it very clear when he doesn't want to do something! So we were even more apprehensive about what could lie in store for us.
Luckily, our latest flight was only to London and so was less than an hour. Again, he was a great boy apart from his great interest in the tray tables and neighbouring window blinds! He also had great fun playing peekaboo with the family in the row behind us. Next month we are flying to Portugal and so this was our practice run really.
Here is a list of things we found helped us to entertain a toddler on a flight.
Colouring Books & Crayons or a Magnetic Sketcher if you don't want to spend the whole time pick crayons up off the floor.
Sticker Books & Activity Books - toddlers just love stickers and you can get ones with different scenes and reusable stickers. We also took a wipe-able colouring book.
Reading books with flaps and sliders and things to keep their interest and little hands busy. I was able to buy lots of different types of books from the great range we have here.
Smaller toys like characters, cars or animals inside a zipper bag or small box, as the bag/box itself is part of the fun.
iPad/Phone - pre-loaded with their favourite TV programs and game apps.
Portable DVD player - if you don't want to let them loose on your treasured gadgets.
Children's Headphones - to save other passengers from having to listen to Peppa Pig or Postman Pat. Rowan isn't a fan of headphones though so we just had to hope the hum of the plane covered up any cartoon noises.
Play-dough - although this will only work if they are past the "eating it" or "throwing it" stage!
Sling - a sling can be a good idea for use in the airport as although you are meant to get your buggy back quickly, this isn't always the case.
Food - fruit or savoury pouches are so handy to squeeze out onto a spoon and avoid too much mess. Easy to eat snacks such as rice crackers and dried fruit are also very handy. Maybe stick a few treats in their in case a little bit of bribery is needed!
Drink - milk, water or juice from a bottle or cup can help to relieve little ears on take off and landing.
Blanket - maybe one from their cot so as it smells of home & comforts them
Snuggly blanket/favourite teddy - as this again provides comfort & reassurance.
Change of clothes/all-in-one for comfort - as lets face it, toddlers are messy little things. You might even need a change of clothes for yourself!
You can also pack all his or her things into their very own bag or case, like a trunki. The trunki itself provided much entertainment for Rowan while waiting to board and while waiting for an hour at the other end for his lost buggy! It's also a great little seat for them when they get tired and need to rest their legs.
What tips & hints could you share with us for surviving long plane journeys?