Buy some sweets – boiled sweets for older children – and suck them on take-off and landing to help to alleviate ear discomfort when the cabin pressure changes. If you don’t have any, tell your kids to yawn rather than to hold their noses and blow (which will only make the discomfort worse).
Allow babies to suckle during take-off or even just to suck your clean finger.
Take distracting toys when flying with babies and toddlers. Toys with lights and movement are particularly effective in averting crying. Other passengers may not enjoy them, but most would agree that they are preferable to screams.
Shape your days. Every minute of the holiday is precious for your children, so give each day some shape or focus. You need not pack your days with activities, but a whole day at the pool or on the beach can be too long for kids. From the point of view of sun exposure if nothing else. Some families find that having an outing in one half of the day and a rest in the other half works well for adults and children alike.
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Choose bibs with sleeves for babies who tend to play with their food.
Prioritise poppers. When buying clothes for your baby, value comfort and connivence over style and tradition. Buy best bodies that pop-fasten at the crotch so they don’t ride up, and trousers with pop-open legs for easy changing.
Provide activity toys. Choose colourful, textural and noisy toys for your babies. The more the toy does, and the easier it s for babies to handle, the more they will engage with it. Simple, old-fashioned rattles that can be grabbed and banged are firm favourites. Soft toys mean nothing to babies!
Play copycats. Stick your tongue out and your baby may well try to copy you. Put your face close
to theirs and entertain them with a facial mime show. Make noises, open and shut your mouth and grin at your baby. Observe what they do in response.
Stimulate your baby. Go out together, have people around, lie your baby where it’s possible to see what’s going on and encourage other children to play with them. Babies thrive on activity and are usually far less grizzly if entertained.