There is one nightmare that rattles every traveling parent and makes them sweat their sheets at night: your child becoming that child on a flight who won’t stop crying, yelling, or kicking the seat in front of them. In a recent survey of British parents, nearly one-third said they wouldn’t take their child on a flight longer than three hours because of this fear.
But there’s one simple, low-tech line of defense on which savvy parents rely. Rather than stimulate a child with an iPad or movies on the seatback entertainment system, a majority of well-prepped parents say they never board flights without notebooks, pencils and crayons.
According to a survey by the British family travel firm Tots to Travel, 57 percent of parents show up to flights armed with stationary with pen and paper being the most commonly-brought distraction for children. Only 27 percent of parents came armed with an iPad and 10 percent used chocolates or sweets to placate their children.
The reason is that pen and paper never gets boring. Children, especially those younger than five, need constant stimulation to keep from descending into naughty behavior.
'Whilst you may get quick wins from using technology to entertain them at this age, this is often short-lived as the children start to experience eye-strain, lack of movement and secondary behaviours,” child behavioral expert Richard Daniel Curtis told The Daily Mail. “These secondary behaviours include things like not answering a parent, being frustrated, irritability and rudeness.”
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Pen and paper provides “infinite opportunities” for drawing, writing and playing games, Curtis said.
That being said, there’s also a whole slew of products — some of which are more high tech — that will make traveling with children much easier.