Kids on Planes: Are Meltdowns ALWAYS Necessary?
I returned from Honolulu on Saturday – it’s an 11 hour flight to Melbourne and on both the flight there and the flight home there were screaming kids. A 3-year-old directly behind us screamed the entire 11 hours home. Even with my noise-cancelling headphones playing a movie at full volume I heard her. And it got old very quickly.
And it’s not the first time, nor will it probably be the last.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m fully sympathetic to little ones with sore ears from the pressure taking off and landing. And I get that it’s pretty bloody boring to be stuck on a lap or in a seat with not much to do for an extended period of time.
But….. I’ve also sat next to babies and toddlers who haven’t uttered a peep the entire journey because their parents worked hard. They were prepared before they got on the plane. They sacrificed their own comfort, sleep, hunger (and possibly a part of their sanity) in order to keep their little ones happy, and luckily all the other passengers around them.
How did they do it? They were prepared before they even got on the plane.
- They dressed their kids in soft, comfortable clothing that didn’t bind or pinch. PJ’s are perfect for long flights.
2. They had bags full of stuff to feed, entertain and distract. In those bags were favourite snacks, juice boxes and for pending melt-downs; lollies and chocolates. Who gives a damn if they’re not supposed to have them on a “regular basis”, in this instance – hand them out. They had their favourite comfort items and they had surprises; games and toys when boredom set in.
3. Mum and Dad tagged teamed each other with kids whether there was one or more; passing them back and forth between each other and taking turns standing up and walking around briefly. They were prepared at nappy changes; going together to the toilet and helping each other holding bags and timing things to the wire. They took it in turns to feed themselves.
4. They entertained them; jostling them, talking to them, playing with them, keeping them calm.
5. On take-off and landing, there were bottles, breasts or lollies to chew on for their ears.
In other words, they had plans.
From what I could witness; the parents with screaming kids had none, nada. They hopped on the plane, sat down and just looked on helplessly when their kids fussed, whinged and eventually descended into full screaming melt-downs.
Maybe that’s how they roll at home. Maybe they had no idea it would be so bad and they were first-timers, I don’t know but for the sake of themselves and more so for the sake of the poor passengers surrounding them, maybe they’ll know better for next time.
Let us know your top tips for keeping little ones happy on flights in the comments below.