Alright so they might not exactly be ‘Must-Haves’ but they have definitely made our family travels a lot easier even if for a short while…
Lets start with the first item, the one item that all of us are very familiar with…yes the iPad. I know there are tons of views and articles of when we should expose our kids to iPads and their equivalents or if we should ever do it. Well that’s a debate for another time or maybe never
For us the iPad works and is especially useful on flights and holidays. I have to say that we are fortunate that Jah is not addicted to his iPad. Well yes there are days where he would insist on watching his ‘eggs Youtube video” on the iPad or watch one more video or play one more game before he showers. But there are also times where he has gone without his iPad for an entire 2 months (we almost forgot where the charger was). So yes we are ok with it and we just make sure to put lots of age appropriate content and educational apps in it.
The iPad comes in very handy when you are travelling on an airline that doesn’t have in-flight entertainment or the movies do not interest your kid. With the iPad, we are able to control the content (remember to use parental lock) and we can be almost 100% sure that he would at least be interested in one of the movies/ tv shows we have pre-downloaded. Cars, Planes, Rapunzel, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam and Sesame Street are some of the sure bets in our family. If Jah is not in the mood for movies/tv shows then educational apps are the next distraction. Apps like Alpha Tots and Tally Tots teach him his alphabets and numbers through games and Disney Puzzle Packs with its word search, spot the difference and matching games can keep the child busy for quite awhile. The ‘awhile’ that it buys you, can ensure that you have at least 15 minutes to get through your meal! 15 minutes is precious, wonderful and hard to come by if you know what I mean!
Oh yes we also protect his iPad with the iGuy case by Speck. It is a thick rubber case with handles at the side which makes holding onto it, easy for a child. The thick rubber may make it alittle cumbersome for carrying around but it is worth the trouble when you see the iPad bouncing off the ground and your heart doesn’t skip a beat. :p
Jah’s old school iPad in its iGuy casing
Next up, a pair of Kids Safe Earphones to complement the iPad. Kids Safe Headphones are useful for a few reasons.
1) It fits the child well and is comfortable unlike some of our own earphones.
2) There is volume control and in fact the highest possible volume is well-within an acceptable range for a child
3) Its cute!!
4) You won’t be disturbing other passengers around you when your child listens to “The Wheels on the bus” for the umpteen time
Jah’s first pair of headphones was a Califone 2810-BE Bear design headphones. It served us well and it was a perfect snug fit for a little child. We have recently purchased another pair for Jah so that Bella could inherit his Bear headphones. This time we went with a Spiderman Kid Safe Over the Ear Headphone. We figured the only way that he would relinquish his beloved headphones, was if he received a pair of cooler superhero ones.
(L to R) – Jah using his Califone bear headphones at 18 months….Bella trying on her brother’s headphones at 14 months…..Jah trying on his new Spiderman headphones at 2 years 9 month
Now anyone who has had to travel with a toddler or young child occupying his own plane seat, would know how easy it is to wiggle out of that seat belt. Yes, all they have to do is stand on the plane seat! I don’t know about Bella yet (she has been a perfect infant traveler so far although I forsee some terrors to come) but Jah turns me into octopus mummy because that little boy has some Houdini tricks in his pocket.
So my solution to that is the CARES Safety Harness. It is the only FAA approved child flying safety device which you can use onboard flights to ‘restrain’ a child. Ok restrain a child sounds really bad but all it means is that I can hook it up to the existing plane seat belt and instead of a seat belt around their waist, tada!!! it turns into a 5 point harness seat belt!!! Most airlines should accept it, given that it is FAA approved but not all airlines may know about it. The CARES website has some ‘approval’ letters from certain airlines like Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Qantas (QF) and in fact some SQ flights carry it onboard. So if you don’t have your own, you can try asking but it would depend on whether the cabin crew knows what you are referring to. I don’t suppose they get asked for this item very often onboard. We have our own because it figured we could get some mileage out of it and yes control freak mummy wanted to figure out how to use it beforehand.
Jah using his CARES Safety Harness on his way to Hong Kong
Yes so here are our 3 ‘must-haves’ items, and now to figure out what kind of terror Bella will be on our next plane ride I think I’m going to need another set of the 3 ‘must-haves’ soon…