How To: Keep a child occupied on a plane

I love going abroad, and I especially love going on a plane, but as it was our first flight with Owen, I was incredibly apprehensive at how he’d cope being confined for two hours.

What if he acted up and annoyed the other passengers? Or spent the whole flight screaming in fear? What if I spent the whole holiday dreading the return flight home for a potential repeat of the journey there?

I know, I know; I should be saying ‘screw ’em’ and not worry about those who may tut and sigh – and quite honestly it’s not them I’m bothered about – it’s my Son’s potential distress and my sanity that I’m more concerned about!

I spent a little time researching things I can do to make the whole process a little more fun, and these were the tried and tested methods I found worked best!

adult, adventure, aircraft

Plan ahead!
I packed everything I could possibly think of before hand, as well as the usual ‘toddler care’ essentials. Food, toys, spare clothes, wet wipes, sick bags…you name it, I had it. I tried to cover every possible circumstance (and maybe a few more) by having to hand all the things I might need immediately, or couldn’t get the other side.

Toys, toys and more toys!
I actually went shopping the week before and brought Owen some new toys and books to keep him occupied on the outgoing flight. I also brought new things for the return flight! This way, there was something new to keep him occupied, which meant that he was preoccupied when he wanted to move but couldn’t. He loves cars and books, so I went and brought some new ones he hadn’t seen before, as well as some sticker books and crayons. When all else failed, I was able to crack out the nursery rhymes on YouTube (God bless wi-fi on planes!). As the flight was early in the morning, thankfully he was sleepy, and settled down on my lap quite quickly.

Close-up of Fruits in Bowl

Arm yourself with snacks – and plenty of them!
Even though I didn’t anticipate making Owen eat all the food I actually brought, it was more relaxing knowing it was there should I need it. I took the things I knew he would like, that didn’t take up too much room or would cause too much of a mess. I armed myself with mini boxes of raisins, mini chedders, Baby-bells and yogurt pouches, as these are healthy and filling, yet are things that he can eat without hassle. I also brought a sandwich and bottle of water in Duty Free should I need anything extra.

Although Owen hasn’t had formula milk since he turned 1 (We made the switch to cows milk fairly easily), I also brought some powdered formula that he could have, just in case he didn’t take to the milk in Spain. Again, in Duty Free I brought a small bottle of ready-made formula for the flight – more of a comfort thing than anything. My reasoning was if his ears started to hurt sucking on a bottle might relieve some of that pressure, as I knew he wouldn’t be able to suck on a sweet.

Calpol is a godsend!
Now this is probably a silly thing to put, as Calpol is a necessity for anyone with children. However, having never taken Owen on a plane before I wanted to make sure that I had a ready supply of Calpol just in case. If his ears hurt on the plane, or if he picked up a sniffle with the air conditioning, at least we wouldn’t have a poorly baby.

Download videos

I made sure that I had several episodes of Owen’s favourite videos ready if he got a little fussy. He doesn’t watch much TV (he’s too active!) but he loves the Little Baby Bum videos on YouTube. There are a whole different selection of videos that can be purchased via their website. They are a little pricey, but it’s worth buying one to keep just in case than have a distressed baby for the entirety of the flight. 

Leave any additional tips you have in the comments!



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