Before our recent adventure I was literally obsessed with googling and reading blogs about how to prepare myself and more importantly, my almost two year old, for a long haul flight from Australia to Scandinavia (approx 25 hours from one place to the other with one stopover there and two on the way back). I was literally DREADING the flight, having flown shorter distances with him before, and knowing he required A LOT of attention. So I basically packed an entire carry-on suitcase just for him, filled with nappies, food, wipes and ‘surprise travel bags’ (which I proudly- yet poorly, sewed myself) that I could pull out at tough times and hopefully distract him for a while with his new ‘toys’. I was so keen to see what worked and what didn’t, even hitting up his daycare for inspiration.
And the consensus? He pretty much played with nothing. Great. Go mum.
I was stumped.
It could have been his age- it was a difficult age to fly. Not really old enough to entertain with a movie or TV (plus he refused to put on his head phones, which was actually a blessing in disguise as the blasted cheap things didn’t even work- thanks Office Works) but also not really old enough to enjoy the ‘activity toys’ I’d painstaking researched and purchased.
So what did we do instead?
We walked the isles numerous times. We chatted gibberish to the people next to us and we looked at photos and videos on mummy’s phone…
Okay, so he slept a bit and actually the stop-overs were a good break, he could run around (& away) a bit and was obsessed with the travelators, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought, or it might sound, though you can certainly kiss goodbye any hopes you have of watching movies because trust me, when they sleep so do you or it simply will not happen.
Okay, down to the nitty gritty. I took four ‘surprise bags’ with me. This is what they each contained- and how much they actually got used.
1. Headphones and a sequins dinosaur (he’d found this in a shop and threw a tanty when he couldn’t bring it home. Plus it was on special- bonus!) And a few small bottles of bubbles.
Consensus: Well, the headphones didn’t work but he wouldn’t wear then anyway and Dino got a play every day so that was worth it, and so did the bubbles. Bubbles for the win!
2. Connector blocks. He plays with something similar at daycare and apparently loves them. Well, he looked at them once and that was it.
Consensus: waste of time, space and money.
3. Books– approx 4 including some favourites and a tactile book about airports.
Consensus: Win! Books are always a win and part of our bedtime routine, so essential.
4. Crayons, notepad, two magic ink colour in books from Kmart (very small) and two small cars, red and blue, also from Kmart. He hasn’t started playing with cars yet- well not little ones anyway.
Consensus: didn’t touch the notepad, crayons and was completely disinterested in the magic colouring in. Did, however, play with the cars and loved them even if we spent more time looking for them than what he spent playing with them!
So really overall, half of what I took was useful (for my son- remember every child is different). On top of that I also downloaded a STACK of what I believed were age appropriate games. This was not something I really wanted to do, but, you know… I was desperate. It was hard to find decent free ones, but Fisher Price had a few semi-decent ones (none worth mentioning) that he played a little bit on the way over but really didn’t look at them again.
We also found he was much better on the plane coming back than going over and to my great surprise and relief, jet lag on the way over was non existent, he adapted so well! Coming back was another story…
Some other things we took that I would recommend to take on the plane:
– phone/ipad and chargers
– snacks and meals (we used packets) as apparently we didn’t order a baby meal so he was scrounging from ours. He would have been STARVING had we not taken quite a bit of food for him and his almond milk.
– nappies and wipes- a given
– 2 cloths (in case of spillage)
– 2 blankets/wraps. I always find the plane freezing
– one outfit change (you could take more…)
– little toiletries bag including power, paracetamol, etc.
At the end of the day we stuck with the mantra that everything is temporary! The flights weren’t as bad as we anticipated and in the end we all survived so hurray for us! It was nowhere near as frightening as I thought and I have to admit, being pregnant, my husband did most of the lap work. As a team it worked well and was doable.
EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY!