Travelling to New Zealand with four youngish children - tips please for keeping them occupied (and me sane), handling jet lag, etc(15 Posts)
DP and I will be taking his three sons and my son to New Zealand to see family for Christmas. His children are three, six and nine; my son's eight.
I've never been this far before, and of the children, only his elder two have (and they were tiny and don't remember).
I'd welcome any tips, please, on how to make the travelling as manageable as possible. I'm thinking books, small games, DS/iPhone games (except the batteries won't last, will they?). There'll be films on the plane too, I'm guessing. But still, it's going to be tough really, isn't it?
We'll most likely be flying Singapore Airlines with a brief pause (a few hours) roughly halfway, and then getting a final internal connecting flight at the end. I'm told going east is tougher on the body than going west (it's easier to stay up for a longer day than go to bed earlier after a shorter day or something like that), but having never flown further than the east coast of the US, I have no idea what to expect really, as far as jet lag's concerned.
Any tips on
surviving making our travel as smooth as possible, and adjusting to the switch in time zones, would be very gratefully received!
I'll post a link to this thread from the New Zealand thread in Living Overseas as there are people on there who have flown over with lots of dcs in the recent past.
Thanks, WhatSheSaid; I hadn't thought to look there.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I won't lie, it isn't exactly fun... but it is manageable. We did it in January with a 4 year old and a 5 month old.
The 4 year old was a dream - played with the entertainment centre, slept, played a few games with DH, ate. Once they are old enough to use the entertainment centre & watch the movies, things get a lot easier. She had one of those vtech tablets which only came out of the bag for an hour or so in total!
We did 'divide & conquer' 4 year old was DH's responsibility, baby was mine. (I got the harder side of things - the baby reverted to being a newborn & fed every half hour!!) Next time we'd probably swop half way.
Don't waste time during your stopover eating - use it to work off some energy for the kids (if necessary find a quiet corner where they aren't disturbing anyone and let them run a bit), I know my 4 year old finds being confined quite hard.
Let the older kids pack their own carry on - let them choose what they think they'll want. We've done this to some extent with DD1 since she was 3 (shorter flights fairly regularly), and then we have some 'surprises' in my bag.
As for jet lag - we didn't find it too bad (I'm a bit backwards and always seem to suffer more going the opposite direction). Try to stay up as close to regular bedtime as possible. Get out in direct sunshine as soon and as often as you can. We did let DD1 nap, she would have been impossible otherwise, but we did try to keep it fairly early in the day.
Sorry, all a bit rambling there - I'll post again if I think of anything else.
I promise you, it's worth the flight
Just did this a month ago with a 3 & a 2yr old. It isn't easy and if I had to do it again, I would definitely do what Justabout did.
One thing I would add to the above, and not sure if anyone will agree, is to land in NZ in the morning. I think it's easier to keep the kids up with a little nap than it is to try and get them to sleep when their body clock is on UK time and telling them it's morning.
Hi, we did it nearly a year ago with an 18month old, 3 and nearly 5 year old.
I was expecting it to be hell, but it was actually ok. The older two watched lots of films. Did etcha sketch, coloured, ate...had little sleeps,and watched more films! And my little one just sat on my knee, I read books to him,lots of cuddles and he had a BIG sleep (phew). We had a couple of sky couches, which were great for the kids to lie down on.
I would say, at the ages of your kids the most stressful time will be the actual airport. They'll all just watch the films! My 3 year old watched cars 2 on a loop for about 5 hours!
You might want to get the littlest one some proper headphones. The airplane ones are often too big an and slip off their heads.
Good luck, and enjoy your stay, it's a beautiful country/
PS Bring lots of cream and hats...and be really careful,the sun here is very intense
Waves to all NZ friends...we emigrated last March with 5,3,23m and 4m. Singapore airlines were amazing. Stopped 2 hrs in Singapore. Hardest bit was Edinburgh to heathrow and navigating that with our lives for the next 8 weeks in 5 bags.
Really not at all bad. Stickers, sweets, colouring is necessary. Hype it up to the kids so they are bought in. 5yo and 3 yo were angels. Loved the TVs. Yours are older so easier.
Ps we landed 11.50pm and had to get minibus (for all of us) to a motel. Kids were mental for 2 hours but then passed out. Adjusted to time zones within a day. Going back is worse IMHO jet lag wise
There is a pool in Singapore airport. If you have time and pack swimming things, it is a great way to relax kids and wear them out physically a bit between the flights. The older ones can probably play computer/video games on the plane screens. Drink lots of water on the flight and encourage everyone to do the same. If kids are squabbling, move everyone's seats a couple of times to break up the dynamic.
Further info on the swimming pool at Changi:-
"Enjoy the relaxing ambience of the Balinese-themed swimming pool and poolside area operated by Harilela Hospitality Pte Ltd. Passengers staying at the Ambassador Transit Hotel may use the pool and jacuzzi for free. Otherwise, a small fee of $13.91 is charged to non-residents for the use of the swimming pool and jacuzzi, including the use of the shower facilities, a towel and a complimentary non-alcoholic drink from the bar. The swimming pool is located at:
Terminal 1 Near Transit Hotel at Departure Transit Lounge East, Level 3."
Would suggest you take their favourite foodstuffs to eat on the flight to Singapore as airline meals for adults let alone children are not always appetising.
God yes, second take plenty of food. It was inedible on our flight. Then we thought we could get something at LA airport, but we weren't allowed out of the gate, and so we got back on the plane starving.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
We're going to aus for Christmas and also flying simgapore airlines not been yet and only have 1dc but as children we flew regularly with 4 children and often just my mum.
So far my ( untried and tested sorry) ideas are:
Make sure each dc has their own bag that they are in charge of.
Make sure any favourite teddies are securely placed in the bag to help with sleeping.
Bring slankets as they won't fall down and wake dc up due to being cold ( I speak from experience here) also if a dc is asleep when the plane lands you can just scoop them up ( smaller dcs anyway)
Bring plenty of snacks and an empty non spill drinks bottle for each dc to avoid spills onto laps. There's nothing worse than being bored, hungry and smelling food but not seeing those trolleys!
Bring books, colouring and stickers.
Bring not-too-small toys as small toys may fall under the seats and be lost ie not lego.
Bring as many fully charged I phoned/ pods/ pads as you have.
Make sure all dc know what to expect at the airport especially security. Especially the older ones. My mum used to get very frustrated with us acting like 'drips' ( we were knackered that's why!)
If you're leaving the airport in Singapore remember to bring sun cream ( less than 100mls though) and hats.
This may all be rubbish though lol as we've not been yet. Good luck! I'm sure we'll both be fine!
Ooh yes and being a light change of clothes for everyone! You never know when someone might need them. Ill always remember my brother getting car sick on the way to the airport and mum having to scrabble through the main luggage for something for him to change into. And also (tmi sorry) mum getting her period in the middle of the flight with no change of clothes
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