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Long haul with 22 mth and 3 mth - advice given

20 replies

jennifersofia · 11/01/2003 14:17

Don't know if this will be helpful to anyone, but we just got back from a 20 hr flight and here are things I discovered / wished that I had known...

  1. too many wipes are almost enough
  2. clothes dry quickly suspended from the overhead storage (just shut the edge of them in the 'door'
  3. United only give you a skycot on international, not domestic flights.
  4. On United, even if you get a (requested) bulkhead, only one person will get it. They can't seat you side by side with two under two year olds because of the oxygen masks. However, we found this okay because we were both given an aisle seat which was good for getting up and down.
  5. On a long flight, a window seat is not particularly useful for a 2 year old as there isn't much to see a lot of the time and you just have to try and keep the child from crawling all over your (unlucky) co-passenger. An aisle seat means it is easy for child to walk up and down.
  6. This is probably specific to my kid, but long car journeys aren't good. We did better staying mainly in one place and making short trips.
  7. Quite obvious but bring more nappies than you think you need! We had an extra 3 hrs added onto the end of our 10 hr flight and we were down to our last ones (ulp!)
  8. Yes, night flights did seem to be easier because they did sleep for part of it.
  9. Yes, it was hard but I am glad we did it - we had a great time once we got there.
  10. homeopathic remedies do seem to help with jet lag. I used gelsemium or arnica, but prob. good to consult a homeopath first.
    Think that is it....
    Good luck!
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EmmaTMG · 11/01/2003 15:41

Wow! I admire you. We had a holiday in Mojorca last year and even that very short flight (2-3 hrs) was too much. Infact it was all such hard work, including once we were actually in the resort that we have deciced that we won't be going on holiday aboard for quite some time.
You are a very brave woman! Well done!

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GillW · 11/01/2003 18:27

Anyone got any good ideas about things to keep a 17 month old amused on a 9 hour flight?

Obviously they need to be:
quiet, so as not to annoy the other passengers
small, so they can be packed with hand luggage
self-contained, so we don't end up grovelling under seats

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Ghosty · 11/01/2003 18:27

Well done jennifersofia! I just got back to NZ from the UK with our 3 year old ... and survived. We have done it 3 times in the last year and it does get easier as they get older. I reckon that under 1 and over 2 is the bst age ... a toddler without much scope for reasoning is a difficult age.

We came straight through this time with a 2 hour stop in LA and I was really proud of my DS when people complimented him on how good he was ... There was a family sitting in front of us, from LA to Auckland, with 4 children ... 5yr old, 3yr old, 20mth old and 5month old ... I really took my hat off to the parents. The children were really good but it was just that there were so many of them!

To add to your list ...
take lots of drinks and snacks.
if you are going a long way ... try to get an airline that do the seat back screens - Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Air do them ... Air NZ don't and we really missed them this time!
In terms of jetlag ... go with the flow ... we have tried to 'cure' our DS but after a week things get better so there is no point stressing. I have read that children are not affected by jetlag but my son hasn't read that book yet .......!

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Twink · 11/01/2003 22:07

Gosh, I'd intended to start a thread but somehow hadn't got round to it..

We've just got back from 2 x 13 hour flights with a 3 year old. Worked far better than I had dreamt, partly because we had discussed it LOTS before we left. I know this won't help those of you with 'proper' toddlers who can't be reasoned with but we explained we would get on the plane, play for a while, eat a meal then she would have to put her pyjamas on, have a wash, clean her teeth, have story, then go to sleep. She was so familiar with this by the time we left, she could bore for England but it worked ! She slept for 10 hours on the way out and 7 on the way back.

For awake times I would recommend:
personal stereo & story tapes
wipes to clean the windows & tables with (don't laugh, passed a lot of time)
pencil sharpener which collects bits (or use the sick bag)
A pencil case with just a few pencils or crayons, a ruler and a shape stencil
Crayola activity pad
Sticker books
PVC type stickers which can be reused (good for sticking to those very clean windows..)
Mothercare playdough, doesn't dry out and comes in small tubs
Aircraft toilets - top banana, just make sure you know how to cancel the steward call button...

Also take advantage of kid's hand luggage allowance and take clean tops & knickers for grownups as well as total change for small people so at least you don't look as bad as you feel at customs.

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Twink · 11/01/2003 22:36

Oh the other thing I forgot:

Relax ! If you stress about the flight, the little one(s) will too. I was really worried about it until I just thought:
'ok we may have the most hellish 13 hours ever, but it's a very small percentage of life and we are never likely to encounter the other passengers ever again'
and I'm convinced that dd responded to this

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sjs · 12/01/2003 13:44

Other ideas to keep a 17 month old amused....

  • agree that stickers are good
  • books (obvious I know and depends on the child). I'd recommend those ones with lots of pictures of baby items, animals etc, so they can show off the things they know, or those books with shapes to put in
  • things to put in and take out of something - actually doesn't matter what! Finger puppets (from Ikea) where my dd fav. at that age. Not expensive, v. small and great for putting in and out of a small bag.
  • the free tooth brush and socks - loads of entertainment but watch out for the toothpaste. My friend enjoyed 1/2 hour of a movie while her 18 month old played with the toothbrush, only to turn around and find her head to toe in toothpaste - still said it was worth it though
  • food - stuff like cheerios, raisans, etc. my dd never eats much on flights but this usually keeps her amused for a while.
  • if they have seatback TVs - just put the cartoons or the Discovery channel on (without sound) and that does it for a while
  • Games - you know the stuff. Where's your nose,
  • take a walk aroud and visit the flight attendants. Perhaps they hate it but they never say so and always seem to be delighted to see my dd (good acting skills?!) but I don't do it when she is screaming or when they are busy...
  • and I agree, that when they scream, try to relax - after all what can you do?
  • BTW, agree with the comment about drinks... take much more than you think they will need of any formula etc(if they are OK with normal drinks that is fine of course.)
    So far, my dd has normally been Ok and similar to previous posters, sleeps on night flights - the harder ones to amuse her are day flights, but then she isn't so tired, so it's swings and roundabouts.
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Lindy · 12/01/2003 19:49

This is great advice as we are taking our toddler to the States later this year & I was already beginning to panic as a 30minute flight to Newquay was bad enough last year! Thanks everyone.

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jennifersofia · 12/01/2003 22:11

Ahhh - an add on here... I am now not sure if we were brave or stupid to make such a big trip. Our 22 mth, who was relatively fine about the jet lag when we got to our holiday destination has really been struggling with it since we got back. The homeopathic remedies do help her calm down, but she is still determined to be awake at night (5 nights after we have arrived back home) and will only scream bloody murder (for a long time!) if we leave her in her cot. Any advice for jet lag problems once you have returned home? We flew from the States (8 hr difference) to the UK.

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Twink · 12/01/2003 22:25

It's much worse travelling from west to east, I know this isn't helpful when you're knackered yourselves but persevere and be tough. It takes 1 day per hour time difference to adjust and the more you allow for little naps in the daytime the longer it takes.
Sorry, maybe someone else has a magic answer

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bloss · 12/01/2003 23:26

Message withdrawn

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sjs · 13/01/2003 14:26

On the jet lag front... don't be too hard on her ... it takes time. (It isn't yet the time for leaving her to cry it out because she probably just doesn't feel tired...)
We do quite a few long haul trips a year, and the recommendation from our doctor's surgery is
--

  • follow your daily routine. Even if your dd hasn't slept well, get her up at the normal time
  • not too much sleep during the day as already mentioned. (but a nap as usual if poss)
  • get out and do something phsyical... walk, run, play in park etc
  • natural light rather than being indoors
  • if she wakes at night, keep room dark even if you are up and playing with her
  • accept that she may be hungry at odd times. (My dd has been known to eat cheerios at 3 in the morning cos she is hungry for a couple of nights)
  • As said before it takes about an hour a day to adjust apparently. with my dd after an 8 hour adjustment it normally takes 4 - 5 nights. Seems like much longer and you must all be exhausted... but in our house we do alternate nights so we get a decent night's sleep and now always come back a few days before we have to go back to work.
    Good luck... my top tip is definitely to stuggle out of bed at normal wake up time and force her out of bed.
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jennifersofia · 15/01/2003 12:46

Thanks for advice, things seem relatively normal now. (fingers crossed!)

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SoupDragon · 03/04/2003 17:15

Had to pass on this story from a friend... travelling with a toddler, the grandfather ended up walking round and round the plane with his non sleeping grandchild. Saw another man with smilar aged children flaked out completely. It turns out that this other man was an anaethetist and routinely gives his children a pre-med before flying long haul!!

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emmabee · 04/04/2003 17:42

Much against my better judgement, i've agreed to a holiday in Florida this June with our ds (he'll be 21m by then). He was murder on a domestic UK flight (had me in tears). Colleagues have suggested sedating him...has anyone else tried this?

Also, does anyone know a good place to get those all in one sun protector suit thingumybobs?

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MABS · 04/04/2003 18:58

I'm doing Arizona tomorrow with ds aged 26 months and dd aged 8 yrs. I'll be taking a large bottle of phenergan to may him a bit sleepy... and several large vodkas for me !!

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SoupDragon · 04/04/2003 19:17

Medised works fine although I think it's meant for over 2s. Medised Infant is the younger one but I'm not sure it's available anymore. Piriton syrup also works.

We got our all in one sun suits from Boots.

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SoupDragon · 04/04/2003 19:26

There's a thread from last summer here with sun suit links on it.

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jennifersofia · 13/04/2003 21:24

I am pretty sure that we got our sunsuit online from a company called Young Explorers. A search on Google should work. The suit worked really well.

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Ghosty · 14/04/2003 00:26

No amount of drugs have ever helped my DS on long haul flights ... have tried phenergan ( ... nope ... no good for us ... ) and various others with antihistimine in ... tixilix nighttime, medised ... We don't bother now and just go with the flow ...

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josiejump · 14/04/2003 20:21

I will be using phenargan on every plane trip now as not only did it help the children sleep, but it prevents travel sickness too. We discovered on our outward bound journey ( when I hadn't administered anything)that ds2 gets plane sick and sea sick ( and so would echo the advice of taking several changes of clothing for adults and children alike)

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