Come Chinese New Year, Christmas, or any other big occasion, there are bound to be families travelling with children. Personally, your writer for today thinks children are adorable and will have 17 of them one day; but when it comes to travelling with them, that’s a different story. While there’s no way to make travelling with children comfortable, there are some ways to make the best of it:
#1 Have Supplies in Your Carry-on
Always have a carry-on bag with enough supply for about a day. There are two reasons for this. The first is that sometimes, you’ll need those supplies like snacks or a favourite toy to calm your crying children. The second reason is that sometimes luggage goes missing. Unless you are ready to do some impromptu shopping (and the brands you use may not be available where you land), keep a supply outside the suitcase.
#2 Separate Medication With Coloured Containers
If your children have conditions like asthma, and need devices like an inhaler, keep them in a separate coloured container. Then teach your children where to find them on short notice.
Never throw everything into the luggage in one big pile — while you may have the grown-up sense and patience to find it in the mess, a sick and panicked child won’t. Also, you won’t get frustrated and use a naughty word in front of your nine-year-old when you panic and can’t find it.
#3 Snap Photographs of Your Children
It’s always to be better to be safe than sorry, and always prepared. In the event that they go missing, it is absolutely imperative that you have a digital image you can show and distribute to authorities. It’s even more helpful than passport photos if your pictures include the clothes they are currently wearing.
You don’t need to line them up like mugshots at a police station; just take a family photo on your phone, before going on your trip
#4 Bring Entertainment
Children get bored faster than your boyfriend in a shoe store, so bring one kind of entertainment per hour of the trip. I learned this after being forced to play I Spy while driving at two in the morning, and that particular game started at 8 pm when I got the rental car. My temples are still throbbing five years later.
Colouring pencils, Lego, and tactile objects are needed for young children. Yes, they’ll get lost down the sides of the seats, but it’s either that or let them break your sanity. Unlike you, a five-year-old really can’t sit in a chair for 11 hours playing Candy Crush, or watch four movies in a row.
The best form of entertainment, incidentally, is letting them interact with other children. They’ll be out of your hair for the entire trip.
#5 Check What Your Children Pack
We once had an 11-year-old in my care start limping after an hour, because his pack was too heavy. Turns out he brought his entire Playstation console, and we were saddled with that throughout a nine-day trip to St Petersburg. So while it’s adorable that they packed on their own, just check. Or you will discover new heights of inconvenience.
#6 Ask the Staff to Give the Kids a Tour if Possible
Sometimes, the airline staff will let the children see the cockpit of the plane; or the ship’s captain will let them see…the maps or whatever (We don’t know what goes on in a ship — too preoccupied trying not to retch on our shoes). This will keep the children quiet for an hour or two.
#7 Get the Children to Move Their Feet
On long flights, be sure to take the children for a quiet stroll up and down the aisles. First, this gives you a chance to tell them to use the toilet. Tell them to go, don’t wait; otherwise, they’ll wait exactly eight seconds before landing to want to go poop, while the seatbelt sign is on.
Second, children really can get sick or suffer from cramps, if you leave them curled up in one position on a long haul flight. Get them stretch their legs a bit.