After months of saving and planning, you finally made your airline reservations to go see your parents who live several states away. Although you cannot wait to see your family, you are understandably nervous about the upcoming 3-hour plane ride with your young child.
Fortunately, with some pre-planning, it is more than possible to keep your kiddo happy and occupied on an airplane. Check out the following suggestions:
Stock up on New Goodies
Before your trip, head to the dollar store and stock up on $5 – $10 worth of small toys. If you have time, wrap each one in colorful paper or the Sunday funnies. Present your kiddo with a new goody every 45 minutes or so on the plane. He or she will love unwrapping it and playing with the new toy. If you spend $10, you should have enough for both airplane trips.
Buy Gel Window Clings
There is something about those colorful gel window clings that make them irresistible to most kids. You can probably find them during your dollar store run, but most party supply stores have them, too. Check out the adorable tropical fish gel cling decals that you can pick up at Party City for $1.49.
When you are making your reservations, be sure you book a window seat for your child and let him or her decorate the window all he or she wants. You can also do some experiments and see if the clings will adhere to the tray table or seat belt. Once you land, don’t forget to take a minute to peel off the clings.
Use a Smartphone for Entertainment
Even if you normally don’t want your child to get a lot of screen time, a long plane ride is a good time to be lenient with this rule. Your smartphone will provide your kiddo with hours of things to do. Before you leave, download some kid-friendly apps on your smartphone. You can also download some of your child’s favorite shows and buy her a new pair of comfy headphones to wear on the plane.
To prevent your child from leaving the app or movie and start accessing things on your phone that she shouldn’t, adjust the settings to put the smartphone into a kid-safe mode. If you have an iPhone 6s, follow the instructions on OSX Daily to put it in Guided Access mode, which will lock the iOS device into a particular app. Basically, open “Settings,” tap on “General” and go to “Accessibility.” Under the Learning section, tap on “Guided Access.” Flip the switch to “On” and tap “Set Passcode” to choose a password to get out of the mode. Practice doing this a few times from home so you can easily set it up while you are on the plane.
Pack Favorite Snacks
To keep your child happily occupied on the plane, provide snacks that are not only yummy, but also take awhile to eat. Small boxes of raisins and string cheese are kid-friendly goodies perfect for the plane because they take longer than the average cracker to consume.
Depending on how your kiddo does with sugary snacks, you might want to keep those to a minimum. Instead of candy and cookies that might rev up your sweetie, stick with Goldfish crackers, pretzels and pouches of applesauce.