Traveling abroad is something which I want to do in the very near future. However, one thing which does scare me is been delayed with Jess in an airport because it would be the first time she has traveled on a plane. Knowing my luck we would actually end up having a delay.
Air travel can be complicated at the best of time and if you have children with you it can be even harder. Then if you delayed at the airport, you will not only have to cope with your own annoyance, entertainment, hunger etc, you also have to deal with theirs. There are things that you can do though, to help things to go smoothly.
Have plenty of toys/games
Obviously, you will know that you will need things to entertain the children on the plane but if you do not expect a delay then you may not have enough. It can be easy to forget how quickly children can get bored with playing with one particular item and want to move on to something new. It might be a good plan to buy something completely new for them as that might keep them entertained for longer, although it could be a risk if you are not sure whether they will like it. Thinking of small things can be tricky, but you should be able to find some small books, a pack of cards, small amount of Lego, small games and electronic devices. Make sure that you also have batteries for items that need them or rechargers. However, do not rely on being able to easily recharge things as you never know if there will be a free socket, to ensure there are other options as well. It could be wise to start with the board games, books, and cards and then move onto the mobile devices when they get tired as these are more absorbing and likely to keep them sittings till and settled better at a time when they might be more prone to temper outbursts or upsets.
Make sure they enough food/drink/snacks
If we do not have enough food or drink it can have a direct effect on our mood. We can find that we will be irritable, tired, low in energy and things like this if we do not get enough. This means that you need to be aware of how the children are and whether they have had enough. It is also wise to make sure the adults with them also have enough food and drink so that they have the right mind set to be able to deal with them too. Airport food is expensive and so it is a good idea to have some food with you. However, if you are delayed for a significant period of time, the airline may compensate you with some food and drink vouchers to spend at the airport. It is worth checking with your airline before you go to eat, to see whether this is the case and then you not pay for food unnecessarily when you could have used a voucher. It is good to watch the type of food as well. Lots of sugary foods could give them too much energy and they may feel like they want to run around or make a lot of noise. Foods that give a slower and more constant release of energy could be a much wiser idea, so things like dairy foods, nut and seeds, wholegrain sandwiches and anything with fat or protein in it.
Stay calm and entertained yourself so that you can help them
When you are caring for children, it is much harder to help them when you are not feeling good. If you are annoyed about the delay or bored, then this will reflect in your parenting. Many parents do not look after their own needs and put their children first. However, you need to look after yourself so that you can be a better parent and so do not be worried about doing this. It is easier if there is more than one person to look after the children as one can have a rest, nap, read or whatever while the other takes over parenting duties and then they can swap.
Explore the airport/watch the planes
Children do like watching planes and all of the activity going on at the airport. Therefore standing by a window or sitting near to one can be a good way to pass time. It can be great to see if they can see their luggage being put on the plane or something similar to that, which will keep them watching and enjoying for a long time.
Consider whether you need to nap/sleep and where you might be able to do that
If you have a long delay then you may feel that the children and adults need a nap or a sleep. It can make a big difference if you can get some sleep as being well rested makes a big difference to your feelings and how positive you feel about the situation. If the delay is really long, then the airline may be able to compensate you for the cost of a hotel room. It is good to find out if this is the case as you will be a lot more comfortable than sleeping in the airport.
How have you coped if you have been delayed while travelling with children?
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