Emirates asked a child psychologist how to get children to behave during a flight and we have all the answers - Alvinology

Emirates asked a child psychologist how to get children to behave during a flight and we have all the answers

While not all of us bring kids when we travel, we can always be sympathetic to the parents who hve to deal with the babies and the toddlers crying–and not to mention the tweens complaining!

Emirates has worked with Dr Sandi Mann, Boredom Expert from the University of Central Lancashire, to establish the top tips for parents when travelling long-haul with babies or young children.


  • Encouraging children to sleep – after electronic activities, the next most time occupying activity is sleeping. Surprisingly, there is very little difference across the ages with parents reckoning that all children from 0-12 sleep for around 80 mins on a plane. Make sure you pack your child’s comfort blankets, cuddly toys – all those objects that help them doze off in your hand luggage. Emirates Cabin Crew also offer our young flyers toys from our “Fly with me Animals” collection, which includes a soft toy stuffed with a fleece blanket.
  • Make use of inflight entertainment systems – watching a movie is the best distraction for all ages, and kids can spend anywhere between 70 -100 minutes on this. Watching a TV show, playing games on the inflight system and then playing on a smart device are also advised as the top entertainment for children. The Emirates ice entertainment system offers dedicated children’s channels including TV shows, movies, music and games.


  • Don’t overload younger children with too many activities – research shows that less is more when it comes to keeping young children distracted on a flight. Allow them to explore objects and things in the environment. Such as take them for walks up and down the aisles or play interactive games using their surroundings e.g. find a man wearing a hat, find a red t- shirt etc.
  • Remember to leave space in hand luggage for colouring/drawing books – drawing is a popular activity for children aged 9 and younger. Colouring/sticker books have the most appeal for younger ages and quizzes/puzzles being better suited to older children. For older children, Emirates Cabin Crew provide our Fly with me Lonely Planet Activity Bags.


  • Listening to music – 11-12 year olds can spend up to 50 minutes listening to music compared with a mere 13 minutes for younger children. Not to worry if you forget the iPod, Emirates ice entertainment system has music plus we have special brightly coloured headsets for kids too – just ask our cabin crew.
  • Engage and talk to children – Children will chat with their parents or each other for 50-100 mins in total, which is actually similar to the amount of time spent on electronic activities. So, remember during the flight to switch up activities and take away electronic devices to encourage children to talk to one another. It could be about the film they just watched or what to look forward to when the aircraft lands. Emirates has installed cameras so all passengers can have a bird’s eye view of the landing and taxing of the aircraft from their seat back screens.


There are many perks to travelling long-haul with Emirates for families with children. Jade Cobbs, Emirates Cabin Supervisor shares her insider tips on how families can make the most of these benefits:

Helping hand at the airport:

  • Hop, skip and jump – When you’re flying with young children, Emirates allows you to skip the queues and go straight to the separate family check-in desks, to ensure your time spent in the airport is as hassle-free as possible.
  • Priority boarding – Families with young children always board first, so you have more time to get your children settled on the plane.
  • Unload and unwind – At Dubai International Airport, families who check in online can unload their bags at the Emirates dedicated baggage drop. You can do this between six and 24 hours in advance of your flight to make your family’s journey as smooth as possible.
  • Take extra – When you fly Emirates with babies or infants, you can carry extra checked baggage, more hand luggage, and if there’s space available, one fully collapsible stroller, carry cot or car seat.
  • Stroll through – If you’re flying from Dubai International Airport with an infant, use one of the Emirates complimentary baby strollers to help you travel through the airport (twin strollers available too).

Keeping kids comfortable on board:

  • Additional space – If you’re travelling economy, bulkhead seats are reserved for passengers with infants, providing you with the extra space to ensure your journey is as comfortable as possible.
  • Kitted out – When you fly with a baby or infant, you’ll find changing tables in the bathrooms and Emirates Cabin Crew will give you an infant kit filled with useful essentials, like nappies, bibs and wipes.
  • Banish boredom – Run out of episodes on your tablet? Are the kids’ attention spans starting to wane? Look no further than Emirates ice entertainment system, as kids can pop on their brightly coloured headphones and choose from a huge collection of the latest kids TV shows and popular cartoons that will feed their imagination for hours.

Be rewarded

Every journey is even more of an adventure for young flyers with Skywards Skysurfers. Kids aged between two and 16 get extra benefits when they join the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer programme. Along with the ability to earn Miles on every flight, other rewards like free flights and free trips to Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai can also be redeemed.

Header image from Shutterstock


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