In this day and age, families travel frequently, which is why it’s now very common to see young children taking long haul flights. Although, it doesn’t mean that the experience is always hassle-free, so families need to be prepared to try and lessen the discomfort of long flights.
It’s always best to equip yourselves with extra things to make the flight easier for your family, such as stuffed animal neck pillows, which were included in the Thrifty Family Travels best travel gifts for kids guide. Items like these can be helpful for when you try to survive the entire plane ride with your little ones, but realistically speaking, they can only do so much.
It’s still best to be prepared, and to give you a hand, here are 6 tips to help the whole family sleep soundly on a long haul flight:
Book a night flight
To increase the chances of sleeping easier, book your flight at night, ideally in line with the kids’ body clocks. The moment your plane takes off, you might just find your little ones already fast asleep.
Plan your seating arrangement
It’s recommended to take seats close to each other, and to do this, you can pre-select them while booking or follow the suggestion of New York Times to check flight monitoring websites and keep tabs on airline seats. This way, you can easily tend to the kids and/or try to lull them to sleep during the flight.
Give your kids a mini-suitcase
Some kids might consider the long haul flight as their first grown-up adventure. Make them feel your support more by giving them their own suitcase filled with toys and other items that can keep them occupied while on the plane. It can serve as a subtle process of teaching the value of responsibility, while the toys can help them relax and remind them of home, which are important to promote comfort for sleep.
Bring suction materials
For smaller children, consider bringing suction materials like dummies, sippy cups, or lollipops. These things will help your kids survive ear congestion, which often makes children restless and unable to sleep. “The act of suction helps keep the Eustachian tube open, which keeps the pressure between the cabin and the inner ear equalised,” said pediatrician Dr. Jennifer L. Young. For infants, she suggests that mothers breastfeed their little ones, as it can lull them to sleep.
Pack nutritious snacks
In addition to lollipops and chewing gum for minimizing ear congestion, it’s equally vital to pack healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables. Leesa states that nutritious food promotes sleep, because they contain vitamins that help the mind and body relax. Airline food does not always include healthy items, not to mention that you have limited choices. To be sure, prepare some homemade healthy snacks beforehand.
Bring extra clothes
When traveling, it never hurts to be prepared for any eventuality. Seasoned traveler Sam Aldred advises to bring spare clothes and pack them in your carry-on. They are handy in case of vomiting or any spillages, but the items may also serve as extra layers that can keep your kids warm enough to sleep soundly on the plane.