Holidays in far-flung locales can be a double-edged sword when you’re a parent. On the one hand, it’s always exciting to get a change of scene; on the other, travel inevitably involves some form of public transport, and as anyone with a baby or toddler knows, nothing presses the ‘havoc’ button quite so hard as being cooped up on a plane for a few hours.
We asked some Living and Loving moms how they’ve coped with the situation.
Toys are your friend
“Melissa & Doug make some excellent travel toys and crafts, like painting with water, scratch art or sticker books. There’s also a fun game called Brain Box, where your little one has a few minutes to memorise some facts before they’re quizzed on them.” – Kim Mantoor
“My daughter loves to take her doll with on a flight. She spends a lot of time putting her ‘baby’ to sleep with her blankie and bottle.” – Theresa Sinclair
Play a game
“Travel bingo is great fun, although it’s better for car journeys. First, make a grid for each person playing, and give each one a pen. Next, make a list of things you can expect to see on your trip, like mountains, red cars, cows or windmills. When you see the item, you tick it off and make a cross on one of the squares in your grid.” – Beverley Gibbons
“We once took kokis and drew hand puppets on the sick bags, then spent the flight making them talk to each other.” Elizabeth Singer
The element of surprise
“We give our children little gifts throughout the journey – so, after every few hours, they’ll receive a small treasure like something to read, a treat to eat or something to do. The anticipation of the gift is almost as much fun as the gift itself.” – Robyn Woolfson
Don’t let them get bored
“Pack a busy box, with an array of different activities: Lego, play dough and stickers.” – Lina Davison
“This sounds a bit strange, but I bought my kids a pack of Prestik. They spent hours making little sculptures.” – Lisa May
“Snacks can be a great distraction, especially things that need to be peeled, like pistachios or naartjies.” – Zainab Hussain
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.