The biggest obstacle when taking a long plane ride with children is not necessarily the length of the plan ride, but the limited moving room available. While you can easily stop a car and get out, a plane offers only a few narrow aisles for movement. This causes children to get fidgety and restless when on a long plane ride. However, there are some entertainment options that might combat some of the restless behavior.
Before boarding the flight, allow your children to get out as much energy as possible! Some airports provide playgrounds or other kid-friendly places. Take advantage of these options. Just remember to wash your hands after playing on the playground!
If a playground or other kid-friendly area is not offered, find an empty gate area and let your children run around in the confined area. While you might get some dirty looks, as long as your children are not bothering other passengers, there is nothing wrong with this. Plus, the passengers on your plane will thank you for getting their energy out beforehand!
Before boarding your flight and while on the plane, read to your children about planes, airports, and your final destination. Explaining to your children where they are and what they’re doing will make them much more interactive in your travel experience.
Allow your children to pack their own carry-on bags. This allows them to feel responsible and gives them choices while teaching them to prioritize which items are most important to them. Once their carry-on is full, don’t allow them to bring anything else.
Bring a bunch of snacks to eat on the flight. Long-lasting snacks such as raisins, lollipops, or gummies are a wonderful idea because they take a long time to eat and require your child to stay in their seat. This can easily entertain them for 20 to 30 minutes of a flight.
While this might not appeal to older children, take your younger children up and down the aisles every so often. Pretend you’re on an adventure somewhere very exotic! Usually there is a kind-looking Grandma or Grandpa that stops you and starts a conversation with your child. Take advantage of these moments.
Because you’re in such a confined space, the activities brought on the flight need to be mess-free, small, and easy to retrieve. Art supplies such as stickers, coloring books, and pipe cleaners are stress-free and provide endless amounts of entertainment. Plus, they are easy to use in a small, confined space.
Long plane rides have the potential to cause meltdowns, crankiness, and restlessness. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to just get off a plane, unlike a long road trip where you can just pull over the car. By bringing along a supply of various entertainment options including crafts, food, games, and electronics, the plane ride can hopefully go by much faster. Make sure to get up and move along the aisles as much as possible to avoid fidgetiness. Happy flying!