Having flown short haul with the Bear from birth and long haul since she was three, I have had more than my share of aeroplane adventures with small children. The Lion however, definitely takes that to another level. Sitting still, on the ground or in the air definitely isn’t his strong point. So here are my top tips for flying with children that struggle to sit still:
Wrap Up Small Gifts
Collect small gifts, anything from sweets, to hair bobbles, to sun glasses works. Think crayons, or puzzles or blind bag toys. Wrap each one individually and pluck them out of your bag as a treat whenever boredom strikes. Giving your child something active to do, is far more likely to help them stay seated for longer.
Try Cat’s Cradle
Cat’s Cradle or other games that involve active hand movements can really help children who struggle when they aren’t able to move. Over compensating by giving them as many opportunities as possible to move the upper part of their body can really help them keep the bottom half of their body still.
Buy A Wiggle Cushion
Wiggle cushions are frequently used in classrooms to help children who struggle to sit still to concentrate without distracting their peers. They provide sensory feedback and allows for movement despite the fact that the child looks as though they are sitting still. They inflate with air and aren’t heavy, so are a great option, especially for older children who struggle to sit still for long periods of time.
Charge The iPad
It may not buy you the full flight, but technology really can help get you at least part of the way there. Whether it’s watching videos, or playing on games a well stocked tablet can definitely be a godsend on long trips.
Board The Plane Last
Whilst I love that families are allowed to board flights first, I’ll happily take an extra ten minutes of moving freely in an airport, than an extra ten minutes of the flight. Use that time to spot planes, jump up and down, and generally get rid of as much energy as possible.
Last But Not Least… Try Not To Worry
Remember that if you are anxious or worried about the flight that is likely to pass on to the children, which in turn will make it even harder for them to sit still. Remember that this is your holiday and you are allowed to enjoy it. The flight is only a very small part of your adventure and you will get through it.