How to Keep Children Under 5 Occupied on a Flight

Letting your child see the world and experience different foods, climates and cultures is a great thing. However, the whole airport experience and flight can be a very daunting one.

Young children are very inquisitive, have short attention spans and can show total disregard to other passengers. The key to a smooth flight is being prepared. Read on to find some great tips on keeping your little monster entertained in flight.

Get Them a Window Seat Where Possible

If at all possible get your little tike a window seat. This will make the first and last 15-20 mins a breeze. They will spend it looking out of the window fascinated by the fantastic aerial views, they can say bye to their home country and you can start teaching them about where they are going on the descent.

Tablets are a Must

You really do need to make sure you have a tablet at hand. And I don’t mean paracetamol for your headache! A fully charged tablet will prove a godsend on a medium to long flight. Make sure you download some of their favourite TV shows and movies as well as getting them many different interactive apps to choose from.

If you have a child that likes Peppa Pig on repeat then consider investing in some child friendly headphones for the sake of your sanity and the sanity of nearby passengers.

Getting them to use their brains and engage with different learning apps is a great use of the tablet. It means they can learn new things and tire themselves out, which is when you can switch to a TV show and watch them drift off to sleep.

Tablet for Children Flying

Bring a Pillow and Cuddly Toy

If you are lucky enough that your child wants to have a nap then you need to ensure they’re comfortable enough to sleep for a decent amount of time. Pack a comfortable pillow and consider bringing their favourite cuddly toy from home so they can snuggle up with it. Adult travel pillows are not ideal. Here a regular pillow or larger soft toy would be a better fit.

Having your child sleep will give you a little time for yourself (it is your holiday too!!) as well as making sure they’re not grouchy on arrival, which is important considering the majority of holidays will require an hour or so journey to your hotel after your flight.


Sticker Books are fantastic. First off they’re small and lightweight, so you won’t even notice them in your hand luggage. Your toddler on the other hand will absolutely love the fact you have brought stickers.

You can even find themed holiday sticker books, which comes stickers all with a holiday theme. This is a great way for you and the little one to get excited about the holiday to come.

The better airlines provide colouring books and treats for children.

Treat Time

It should go without saying that you will need plenty of treats and snacks to keep your child fed, watered and entertained during the flight. They also make amazing bribes when you are struggling to keep them on their best behaviour.

This one comes with a word of warning though… Avoid sugary snacks, you have absolutely no chance of keeping a little one quiet and seated after loading them with sugar every 10-15 minutes.

Opt for sugar free drinks, fruits and crisps as opposed to fizzy pop, strawberry laces and chocolate. The former will keep them busy for longer, won’t cause a spike in their sugar levels as well as being much easier to clean.


This one is not relevant for in flight, but I personally think it needs saying. You should really consider investing in a Trunki. I know at first glance they seem overpriced and unnecessary, but they really do the trick and look awesome.

Airports these days are very hectic, insanely crowded and long and boring queues are commonplace. This is a disaster if you have children with you. A Trunki offers them a place to sit and relax while you can pull them along with the strap attached, which means no more dawdling amidst crowds of thousands.

If the price tag is just too much then cheaper ride along luggage is become more readily available, so do a little research and find one within your budget.

Be Prepared or Prepare to Fail

I’m going to reiterate what I said in the beginning. Keeping your little one’s entertained on a plane is all about preparation. Break your flight up into 15-20 minute chunks and make sure you have a new activity for each slot.

Depending on where you are travelling and how old your child is consider learning some key words and phrases so they can greet locals the right way.

Get all of this prepped nice and early, so you too can unwind and enjoy your break.

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