Dr Sandi Mann, Chartered Psychologist and Boredom Expert from the University of Central Lancashire, provides top tips for parents when travelling long-haul with babies or young children.
1: Encourage children to sleep. After electronic activities, children spend sleeping. Children from 0-12 years sleep for around 80 mins on a plane. Make sure you pack your child’s comfort blankets, cuddly toys – all those objects that help them doze off in your hand luggage.
2: Make use of inflight entertainment systems – watching a movie is the best distraction for
all ages. Watching a TV show, playing games on the inflight system and then playing on a smart device are also top entertainment for children.
Young children, ages 0-6.
3: Don’t overload younger children with too many activities. Research shows that less is more when it comes to keeping young children distracted on a flight. Allow them to explore objects and things in the environment. These can include walks up and down the aisles or play interactive games using their surroundings.
4: Remember to leave space in hand luggage for colouring/drawing books. Drawing is a popular activity for children aged 9 and younger. Colouring and sticker books have the most appeal for younger ages while quizzes and puzzles are better suited for older children.
Older children, ages 7-12
5: Listening to music. Children around 11-12 year olds can spend up to 50 minutes listening to music, compared with a mere 13 minutes for younger children.
6: Engage and talk to children. Children will chat with their parents or each other for 50-100 minutes in total, which is actually similar to the amount of time spent on electronic activities. So, remember during the flight to switch up activities and take away electronic devices to encourage children to talk to one another. It could be about the film they just watched or what to look forward to when the aircraft lands.
Source: Emirates airlines. Emirates was recently voted World’s Best Inflight Entertainment System at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2017. For them, children’s comfort and safety on board is a priority.