Oh no, an airport layover with young kids! Hang on…before instinctively reaching for the aspirin, check out the following article from AupairJobs.com, “How to Survive a Layover with Young Kids.”
“Traveling with your kids can be a fun and rewarding experience, and can provide you with a treasure trove of memories you’ll be able to recall with fondness later,” the article states. “It can also be a harrowing, frustrating experience if you’re not properly prepared, though. Sometimes a layover is unavoidable, but the lack of a direct flight doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for your family trip.”
Here are AupairJobs.com’s 6 tips to help you not only survive a long layover with little ones, but perhaps even have a bit of fun.
Research Airport Play Areas
Before you embark upon your journey, research the availability of play spaces and kids’ areas in the airport where you’ll be spending your layover. Many airports have specifically designed areas to keep kids occupied and entertained during long waits. If there are no such dedicated play areas, try exploring the terminal’s stores, restaurants and lounges together.
Stock Up on Provisions
How well your kids manage a layover often depends on how well you’re equipped for the experience. Bring along tablets, smartphones and toys your kids will enjoy, along with the requisite chargers. Be ready to offset a possible meltdown with a favorite stuffed animal or comfort object. And remember that a tired, hungry little one is sure to be a cranky little one before long. If possible, make sure your child is well-rested before your trip and have plenty of healthy snacks for the duration of the journey.
Consider Leaving the Airport
Depending on how long your layover is, you may want to leave the airport altogether for a little while. Are there any kid-friendly attractions in the area and do you have enough time to visit them? Note: just make sure you don’t have so much fun that you miss your connecting flight!
Download a Photo Editing App
Kids love to snap pictures of the things around them, and they also love craft-y projects. Short of packing a full art studio in your carry-on luggage, you can simulate the experience by investing in a few smartphone photo editing apps that allow your child to alter, doodle and paint on the photos they’ve taken. When it comes to a no-fuss, no-mess art project, you can’t beat these apps!
Concoct a Scavenger Hunt
Taking advantage of a crowded airport, a scavenger hunt is a terrific game that gets everyone’s minds off waiting. List things for your kids to be on the lookout for, such as “man in a yellow shirt” or “three green signs” or “cat in a pet carrier.” Your child will get a kick out of crossing items off the list, will expend a bit of energy before boarding another plane, and the entire family can get in on the fun. If you have enough family members, add a competitive edge by splitting into two teams with a parent heading up each one, then see who can check off the most items in the allotted time.
Enjoy the Experience
Like so many things in life, the success or failure of the layover experience resides largely in your perspective. If you telegraph to everyone around you that the situation is doomed to be a disaster, that’s the mood you’ll project to your kids. But if you approach it like a new and exciting adventure, you may just find that everyone has lots of (unexpected) fun along the way.
Good luck and happy travels!