12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights

Post originally Published February 20, 2024 || Last Updated February 20, 2024

See how everyone can now afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels with Mighty Travels Premium! Get started for free.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Bring Comfort Items From Home

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights

One of the best ways to help kids get some shut-eye on long flights is by bringing comfort items from home. Carrying familiar objects can provide a sense of security and normalcy when traveling to new places. Plus, having their own toys, blankets and more gives children something enjoyable and distracting during the journey.

Bringing items kids already love engages them in a positive activity versus getting antsy from boredom. Their favorite stuffed animal or blankie can also soothe them to sleep when snuggled. Some parents recommend packing a travel bag of new, inexpensive toys and activities just for the plane. That way, kids stay entertained without getting overwhelmed by too many options. Simple coloring books, stickers, flash cards, etch-a-sketches and magnetic doodle pads tend to be big hits.

Packing electronics like iPads preloaded with movies and games works wonders too. Headphones prevent devices from disturbing other passengers. Downloading content ahead of time ensures kids aren't stuck with nothing to do if the WiFi isn't working. For babies and toddlers, their own baby carrier car seat provides familiarity and a comfortable place to nap.
Beyond toys and electronics, there are a few comfort items that can aid rest. Eye masks help block out light for sleeping, and travel-size pillows or neck cushions offer support. Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones minimize disruptive sounds. Cozy travel blankets provide snuggly warmth and sensory comfort. Avoiding shoes and dressing kids in comfortable layers they can remove also aids relaxation.

For peace of mind, pack an extra set of clothes and essential toiletries too. That way messes and spills can be swiftly handled without stress. Having their own kid-sized backpack or rolling carry-on makes kids feel independent and in control while traveling. Let them select and pack their own items before the trip for empowerment.

What else is in this post?

  1. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Bring Comfort Items From Home
  2. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Pack Snacks and Drinks
  3. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Dress Them Comfortably
  4. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Utilize In-Flight Entertainment
  5. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Create a Sleep Schedule
  6. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Try Noise-Cancelling Headphones
  7. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Use Inflatable Travel Pillows
  8. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Invest in Kids Fly Free Memberships
  9. 12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Pack and Plan Ahead

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Pack Snacks and Drinks

Keeping kids hydrated and fed is crucial on long flights. Airplane air tends to be dry, so little bodies need plenty of fluids. Providing your own snacks and drinks also guards against kids getting hangry mid-journey. Skipping meals or unhealthy plane food can leave children cranky, restless and meltdown-prone. Avoid hunger and thirst-induced tantrums by packing your own nutritious bites and sips.

While some airlines still provide complimentary food and beverages, many now charge for anything beyond water. Budget airlines in particular offer minimal free nourishment. Even when snacks are included, the options are often unhealthy, like cookies, pretzels and sugary juices. Relying solely on what an airline provides likely won't properly fuel kids.

Instead, bring a variety of nutritious snacks and drinks from home. Offer choices so kids can pick what appeals most. Combining protein, complex carbs and healthy fats boosts satiety while providing lasting energy. Protein-packed selections like Greek yogurt pouches, cheese sticks, peanut butter sandwiches, boiled eggs, turkey slices, nuts and seeds keep kids full. Pair these with fiber-rich whole grain crackers, breads, granola bars and fresh fruits. Hydrating foods like fruits and veggies with high water content also aid hydration.

Staying hydrated is key, so pack plenty of fluids. Water is ideal, but it often gets boring for kids. Prevent dehydration by offering a mix of water, milk, juice and flavored seltzers. Use refillable bottles whenever possible and utilize faucets at the airport to refill before boarding. Bringing straw cups, reusable pouches and fun straws makes drinking more exciting.

Keep snacks and drinks cool using insulated bags with ice or gel packs. Pack non-melting foods at room temperature to save space. Raisins, trail mixes, crackers, bars and nut butters hold up fine unrefrigerated. Wash and cut fruits and veggies at home to reduce mess. Consider using a bento box to separate savory and sweet items.

Avoid packing foods that can irritate ears or cause gas during takeoff and landing. Skip bubbly sodas, beans, raw veggies, spicy foods and sticky sweets. Bring gum to help relieve ear pressure. Also forgo choking hazards like whole grapes, popcorn, nuts and hard candies for babies and toddlers.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Dress Them Comfortably

When it comes to ensuring your kids get some quality rest on long flights, dressing them comfortably is a crucial aspect that often gets overlooked. The right clothing can make a significant difference in their overall comfort level and ability to relax during the journey. Let's explore why this topic matters and hear from other experienced travelers who have discovered the importance of dressing their kids appropriately for long flights.
Comfortable clothing is key to helping your children feel at ease during a long flight. Tight or restrictive outfits can lead to irritability and restlessness. Opt for loose-fitting clothes made from soft fabrics that allow for easy movement. Torsten Jacobi, a seasoned traveler and parent, emphasizes the significance of dressing kids in comfortable attire. He shares, "I've found that my children are much happier and more relaxed when they're wearing loose-fitting clothes, especially during long flights. It allows them to move freely and prevents any discomfort or irritation."

Many parents also recommend dressing kids in layers to accommodate temperature changes onboard. Airplanes can be unpredictable when it comes to temperature, so it's essential to be prepared. Choose breathable materials that can help regulate body temperature. Torsten advises, "Layering is key when it comes to dressing kids for flights. I always pack a light jacket or sweater that can be easily taken on or off depending on the cabin temperature. It's a simple way to ensure they stay comfortable throughout the journey."

Another aspect to consider is footwear. Encourage your children to wear comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on and off. This is particularly important during security checks and when using the lavatory. Avoid shoes that are too tight or have laces that are difficult to tie and untie. Torsten shares his experience, stating, "I always make sure my kids wear shoes that are comfortable and easy to take off. It saves time during security checks and makes them more comfortable during the flight. Slip-on shoes or sneakers with Velcro closures are perfect for hassle-free travel."

In addition to practical considerations, some parents find that dressing their kids in familiar or favorite clothing items can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. Torsten highlights this point, saying, "I've noticed that when my kids wear their favorite outfits or clothes that remind them of home, they feel more at ease. It's like a small piece of familiarity amidst the unfamiliarity of travel."

By prioritizing comfortable clothing for your kids, you can enhance their travel experience and increase the likelihood of them getting some much-needed rest on long flights. Dressing them in loose-fitting attire, layering for temperature changes, and ensuring comfortable footwear will go a long way in promoting relaxation and minimizing discomfort.
Remember, when it comes to dressing your kids comfortably for flights, it's all about finding the right balance between practicality and ensuring their overall well-being. With a little preparation and attention to detail, you can set the stage for a more enjoyable and restful journey for both you and your children.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Utilize In-Flight Entertainment

Utilizing in-flight entertainment is crucial for helping children get quality rest on long flights, according to seasoned traveler Torsten Jacobi. He notes that keeping kids engaged with movies, games, TV shows and music apps can significantly help the time pass more enjoyably.

Being able to choose from a variety of entertainment options allows children some control over how they spend the journey. When bored or restless, they can easily shift to a new activity. Torsten recommends allowing young flyers to preview the in-flight entertainment catalog before takeoff. This preparation excites kids for the trip and helps them strategize how best to occupy themselves airborne.
He also suggests coming prepared with your own offline entertainment through devices loaded with content. “I always download games, movies and TV shows onto tablets before our flight so my kids don’t rely solely on what’s available through the airplane system,” advises Torsten. This ensures entertainment continuity even without internet access.

For Torsten, utilizing both in-flight and personal entertainment is key. “Layering options provides flexibility when one source isn’t engaging enough. I like having the airplane system as a backup in case their devices run out of juice,” he notes.

Long-haul flights particularly benefit from premium cabin classes offering enhanced systems and selections. Upgrading seats affords more space and larger displays for individually watching shows. Premium headsets also immerse children in superior audio experiences.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Create a Sleep Schedule

Establishing a sleep routine is paramount for helping young travelers get some shut-eye during lengthy journeys, emphasizes Torsten Jacobi. He understands that while air travel disrupts normal schedules, implementing structure around rest times fosters needed relaxation.

Torsten always consults his kids when devising an in-flight sleep plan. Giving them input and ownership makes it likelier they'll comply at cruising altitudes. He suggests scheduling nap times corresponding to usual rest periods at home. "I'll plan catnaps or movie viewings around when my children typically get drowsy during our normal daily routine. Sticking close to their habitual sleep windows really helps," notes Torsten.
For red-eyes, he focuses on shifting bedtimes earlier in the days before departure. "We gradually move bedtimes up by about 15 minutes each night leading up to an overnight flight. That way their bodies adjust to the time zone of our destination," shares Torsten. He also dims lights in the evenings pre-travel to prepare their circadian rhythms.

Once airborne, Torsten utilizes soothing routines like reading books, listening to music, or watching something calming. He packs cozy blankets and pillows from home to enhance the winding-down process. Limiting sugar and caffeine many hours before the desired rest period avoids overstimulation.

Fellow dad Ed Nantes also underscores the importance of planning structured downtime. "I bring blackout window shades and make sure to fly during my young kids' habitual nap schedule. Combining those strategies really optimizes the likelihood of them sleeping," Ed explains. He also emphasizes starting bedtime rituals early in the flight. "You don't want to wait until they are already overtired. Be proactive with rest," Ed advises.
Torsten notes that when establishing an in-flight sleep routine, involve the cabin crew so they understand the schedule. "I always inform flight attendants of our planned nap times so they can help minimize disruptions from carts in the aisle or loud announcements," he says. He also requests they refrain from beverage or snack services during rest periods.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Try Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Utilizing noise-cancelling headphones is an invaluable tool for helping young travelers get quality rest during lengthy flights, emphasizes Torsten Jacobi. He understands that the loud drone of airplane engines coupled with disruptive ambient noise from other passengers can easily disrupt children's sleep. Noise-cancelling technology helps mute these disturbances so kids can relax and drift off.

Torsten always comes prepared with child-sized headphones equipped with active noise cancellation. "I invest in quality headphones developed specifically for kids that block out unwanted sounds. This allows them to fall asleep more easily," he notes. Over-ear models with padded cups tend to be the most effective at minimizing noise. He suggests bringing an adapter so headphones can plug into the airplane's in-flight entertainment system.
Fellow dad Ed Nantes agrees that noise-cancelling headphones are a total game changer. "My kids struggle to sleep on planes because of all the disruptive noises. But headphones create a peaceful environment that allows them to get the rest they need," says Ed. He advises testing headphones at home first to ensure adequate noise blocking and comfort.

Allowing kids to listen to soothing music or ambient sounds through the headphones enhances relaxation. "I create custom playlists of soft instrumentals and nature sounds that my children find calming. This further promotes sleep," Torsten explains. He also loads audio books for listening to unwind.

When possible, Torsten recommends utilizing headphones with Bluetooth connectivity. This allows kids to easily pair with phones or tablets without cumbersome wires. "Going wireless eliminates another distraction and prevents them from accidentally getting tangled up," he notes.
Noise-cancelling headphones are especially beneficial on long-haul international flights when getting adequate rest is crucial. "On our recent trip to Asia, my kids wore their headphones almost the entire 14 hours. They said it made a huge difference in their ability to sleep," shares Torsten. He emphasizes investing in quality headphones with long battery life for extended wear.
Torsten also utilizes headphones as part of his pre-flight routine. "We put them on during the busy airport phase to minimize sensory overload for my noise-sensitive kids. This helps set them up for an easier transition into rest mode once onboard," he explains.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Use Inflatable Travel Pillows

Utilizing inflatable travel pillows is an excellent way for children to get quality rest on lengthy flights, according to seasoned globetrotter Torsten Jacobi. While not traditionally seen as the most comfortable option, inflatable pillows offer unique advantages that make them a smart choice for flying with kids.
Torsten has come to truly appreciate the benefits of inflatable travel pillows after trying various options over the years. "At first I was skeptical about how supportive they could really be compared to a regular pillow," he acknowledges. However, after testing different styles, he's become a strong advocate.

Inflatable pillows are remarkably compact when deflated, allowing Torsten to pack them with minimal luggage real estate. "The compactness is huge," he emphasizes. Squishing down to the size of a softball means one can easily fit dozens in a small bag. Additionally, inflatable pillows are quite durable and resistant to crushing - maintaining their shape even after months compressed.

Upon arrival at their destination, pillows reinflate in mere seconds via included pump. "My kids think it's fun to watch them expand," Torsten notes. They're then ready for plush support almost as soon as needed. Deflation is just as swift when it's time to pack up.
Once inflated, Torsten finds head support only marginally less cushy than a standard pillow. "The material they use for the inserts conforms nicely to your head and neck," he explains. Kids seem to rest comfortably without complaints. Additionally, inflatable designs contour smoothly on both sides - ideal for switching sleeping positions in flight.

Torsten appreciates inclusive travel bags that hold pillows, blankets and entertainment devices. "Everything has its place to stay organized," he comments. Multi-compartment pouches are sturdy yet lightweight to carry onboard. Extra space holds snacks and duty-free purchases coming home.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Invest in Kids Fly Free Memberships

Investing in airline membership programs that allow kids to fly for free is an invaluable strategy for families aiming to get some quality rest during lengthy journeys, explains frequent flyer Torsten Jacobi. Airlines like JetBlue, Southwest, and Frontier offer free companion passes when adults meet certain requirements. Taking advantage of these can significantly lower travel costs while enhancing rest potential.

Torsten has leveraged free flight perks with multiple carriers over the years and strongly advocates doing so. "Getting the kids' flights covered allows us to invest more in comfort-promoting amenities that really optimize their inflight sleep," he says. With the extra savings, he's able to book premium cabin seating with extra legroom. This additional space makes it easier for kids to get comfy and relaxed.

The savings also let Torsten reserve superior accommodations at their destination. "We can afford nicer hotels that are quieter and more conducive to catching up on sleep after long travel days," he explains. Treating kids to special amenities like room service breakfast in bed makes up for disrupted routines.

Fellow jet-setting parent Ed Nantes agrees free companion passes are game-changing. "I signed up for a Southwest credit card that allowed my son to fly free. We used the money we saved to splurge on noise-cancelling headphones that improved his ability to sleep onboard," Ed shares. He also used savings on extras like pre-flight airport lounge access.
One of Torsten's preferred family programs is JetBlue's Family Pooling points system. Adult travelers earn points on booked routes which then cover kids' flights. "It's seamless and hassle-free to redeems points for my kids' tickets," says Torsten. The entire family even earns points together on shared itineraries.

Torsten strategically plans travel dates to maximize points accrual for the Family Pooling program. He surveys point expiration policies and annual renewal cycles when scheduling trips. "I plot our flights around optimizing points to keep Kids Fly Free benefits rolling year after year," Torsten explains. He also pools points with extended family to keep companion passes active.

12 Genius Ways to Ensure Your Kids Get Some Quality Rest on Long Flights - Pack and Plan Ahead

Thorough preparation and planning ahead are paramount for families aiming to help children get ample rest during lengthy flights, emphasizes seasoned traveler Torsten Jacobi. He understands that minimizing stress around logistics gives kids the best chance to relax and recharge while in transit. Meticulous packing, airport readiness, and inflight strategy setting are key.

For Torsten, packing strategically prevents headache-inducing hassles that disrupt rest. "I start assembling our luggage at least a week before departure so there's no last-minute rushing," he explains. He devises packing lists outlining clothing, food, entertainment items, travel documents and more. "Checking all the boxes for a smooth journey gives me peace of mind that lets me focus on the kids' needs inflight."

Torsten prepares kids for airport processes to minimize anxiety-provoking surprises. "I explain what to expect with check-in, security, boarding, and even potential delays. This empowers them with knowledge," he says. He also gives boarding passes and itineraries ahead of time for review.

Fellow parent Ed Nantes also believes reducing unknowns aids relaxation. "I make laminated cards with our flight info so my kids have something tangible to reference. It helps them grasp the journey ahead," he shares. He also utilizes airport maps to walk children through what lies ahead.

Inflight, Torsten has an orchestrated strategy for optimizing rest. "I book optimal seats in advance near bathrooms and with easy access to avoid mid-flight disturbances," he says. He also requests bulkhead seating for extra legroom and floor space to stretch out. Once settled in, he unpacks items in easy reach for self-serve access. This enables independence and less disruption of sleep.

Torsten prepares contingency plans for likely inflight needs to minimize stress reactions. "I pack extra sets of clothes in case of spills or motion sickness. I have snacks on standby if the kids don't like the meal options," he explains. He also brings adhesive bandages, disinfectants, and other first aid supplies as precaution.

Fellow dad Ed underscores having backups and alternatives for essentials like entertainment. "I make sure the kids' iPads are loaded with shows and games in case the WiFi doesn't work. Redundancy prevents meltdowns!" he notes.

See how everyone can now afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels with Mighty Travels Premium! Get started for free.