It’s coming up to summer and we are all dreaming whacking on the Out of Office and hitting the beach somewhere with a better chance of stringing two rain-free days together than the UK. However, to get Corfu, Cambodia, California or anywhere else that takes your fancy, you’ll probably have to cart your kids on a plane.
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And that is not always everyone’s favourite way to spend three or more claustrophobic hours.
One dad on The Dadsnet Closed Facebook group recently put out an appeal for tips for taking their 18-month-old on a plane, and fellow fathers piled in with tips, tricks and, of course, tales of terrible trips with toddlers.
Dads’ Travel Tips – At the Airport
Of course, one of the most popular pieces of advice for taking an 18-month-old on a plane was a very simple “don’t”, but if that’s not an option, if your craving for golden sand and amusingly named beers outweighs your sheer terror at the thought of being cooped up with a small child on a plane full of strangers, there were positive words of wisdom too.
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One seemingly obvious piece of advice that filtered in early on was “don’t leave them at the airport”. Your response to that might run along the lines of “well, duh”, but don’t forget a former Prime Minister once left his own child in the pub toilets, so it’s always worth adding to your mental checklist. Airports are busy places and, with everything else you have to remember before you board the plane, you can take your eye off the ball.
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Don’t make the same mistake some parents did with a young child in the 1990s, when their son was left on his own to wander the streets of New York near Christmas, checking into a hotel with his dad’s credit card and getting up to high jinks. There was a documentary about it, or something.
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One dad had some great advice to consider before you take your seat. “Book your seats” he said, “ and be one of the last on the plane.”
Dads’ Travel Tips – On the Plane
Practical advice for during the flight came from one poster, who recommended “little ear defenders and plenty of little toys” to keep the child busy during the flight. Another parent, experienced in flying with their child said “Make sure you have enough snacks and drinks to keep them occupied, walk them around a bit when you can, and use the plane rocking to your advantage to send them to sleep. And if it’s a long haul flight make sure it’s overnight and they will hopefully just sleep. Took our one-year-old on a 12 hour flight and he slept for over 10 of it!
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Someone else provided some other essentials to pack in hand luggage: “Take a Kindle or iPad, a book, clip-on toys and snacks. Spare clothes even PJs for the flight.”
Another good answer shone light on a problem that many dads flying with their kids for the first time might not have considered. “Take something to ease the pain,” he said, “the pressure is going to drive their ears crazy insane.” The answer to this issue, according to another poster, is “Try to encourage sucking during take-off and landing – dummy, drink, breast.”
Other pearls of wisdom included being sure to take Calpol and, if downloading movies to a tablet, make sure you can view them without WiFi.
More Tips for Taking an 18-Month-Old on a Plane
Do you have any other tips for taking an 18-month-old on a plane? Let us know in the Comments.