Nobody wants to sit next to a fidgety child on an airplane, so traveling parents always look for ways to keep children occupied when family travel involves long flights. Carry-on space, TSA rules and the clean-up factor limit options for both food and toys, but a well-planned supply can last through even a long flight.
The best plan of all is to get kids to sleep. If possible, plan short flights for nap time and longer ones late in the day closer to bedtime. Avoid sugary treats and make sure kids are in comfortable clothes and have their favorite sleep toy (unless, of course, it’s so big it needs a seat of its own).
Choose toys or games that don’t make noise and don’t have a lot of small pieces that can fall into the seat or on the floor. Activity and puzzle books are compact and keep kids busy for hours. Coloring books are a good choice, but limit the number of crayons and put them in a drawstring bag instead of a box.
If your child uses your phone or tablet, load plenty of options, make sure it’s fully charged and bring child-sized headphones. Load some books for children old enough to read.
A supply of snacks not only keeps kids busy, but can replace a meal if kids are not fond of the meals served (and who is?). Small packets or zip-lock bags of raisins, almonds, grapes, clementines, dried fruits, baby carrots and lunchbox-sized applesauce cups are good choices.
We like Annie’s Organic Variety Pack, which contains small pouches of Cheddar Bunnies, grahams and other kids’ favorites. If you do want to bring candy as a special treat, choose long lasting ones like gummies. For younger children, consider bringing a snack-catcher cup to avoid spills.
Finally, pack plenty of paper towels, wet-wipes and a packet of travel-sized disinfectant wipes for the tray table.
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