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Flying with kids – Shut up biscuits and other tips


Flying with kids


Shut up biscuits and other tips for flying with kids

flying with kids
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‘Mum,’ whispers a little voice in my ear.

‘Mmmmm, I’m sort of trying to have a nap,’ I reply sleepily.

‘MUM!’ the voice repeats louder.  I remember where I am and jerk awake quickly.  Sleeping on planes is not an option with my kids….unless your dad.

‘Ok, I’m awake. What do you need buddy?’

‘Can I please have a shut up biscuit?’

I give hubby a guilty look.  I thought that I had done a pretty good job at keeping that particular biscuit nickname a secret.  Apparently I haven’t.  At the age of four, his listening skills are usually fairly lacking.  Clearly, when it comes to yummy biscuits, he is all ears though.

Damn it, now I look like a bad parent.  I hope nobody heard that!  It’s the one time in his life that his speech disorder may actually be a positive; hopefully no one else understood what he said.

Hubby reads my face like a book.




‘He even got the sshhhhhhh sound properly,’ he says proudly.  We’ve been working on that sound for weeks.

He then gives me the same look that I gave him two weeks earlier, when our 18 month old daughter repeated a particularly swear word learnt from daddy’s attempts to start his motorbike.   Turns out our youngest child has no such speech problem, as there was no mistaking what particular word she was now repeating.  She very clearly, was not saying the word truck.

Shut up biscuits are basically any type of biscuit, usually an arnotts cream or a scotch finger, that we don’t usually have in the cupboard at home.  I carry a packet in my airplane carry-on bag when travelling, and bring them out one at a time when I need to distract the kids and make a mood adjustment.

Come to think of it, mood adjustment biscuit would have been a much nicer nickname.

flying with kids
Shut Up Biscuits are versatile and work anywhere…..even on a bamboo boat in rural Vietnam

The thought of occupying the kids when travelling from A to B is usually a huge source of anxiety for parents.   I actually love hearing other children have a tantrum on the plane.  It makes me feel like I have a ‘free pass’ for mine to do the same thing 30 minutes later.

It was easy when they were babies, because breastfeeding basically solves any squawking.  Now they are older, I have had to come up with some other alternatives to occupy them on the plane.

So here goes!


Here are 11 tried and tested tips for flying with kids


  • Mood adjustment biscuits (formerly known as shut up biscuits). This is my favourite trick because it can be used virtually anywhere.
  • Visit the two dollar shop leading up to your flight and buy stickers, novelty items and little craft sets. I don’t usually spend over ten dollars but I am cheap.
  • Little cars. Both of my kids love little cars.  There are at least 20 in every room of our house hiding in the carpet.
  • Give in to screen time and technology. I’m perfectly fine with too much screen time for long trips.  Before kids, even I would happily watch movies for hours on the plane.  What else is there to do?
  • Take advantage of the little kid packs that most airlines hand out. It’s usually a little colouring book, pencils and some kind of small stuffed toy.  Singapore airlines are my favourite so far, because they seem to go all out with popular movies.
  • Ask the air hostess for a cup of ice and a straw. I don’t know why, but this seems to occupy young kids.  Even really little ones seem happy stabbing the ice with the straw.
  • Don’t forget their cuddle teddy or comfort item. However in no circumstances, whatsoever, let your child (or possibly even husband in my case) be in charge of making sure the cuddle teddy comes off the plane with you.
  • Are you crafty? Have you seen those fabric quiet books for toddlers? If you haven’t, you need to do a quick Google or Pinterest search now!  These books are amazing.
  • Walk them up and down the aisles if you need to. Most people can’t help smiling at the cute baby or toddler trotting past them.
  • This tip is by far the most effective, but also the most mentally frustrating to do. Give up on the idea that you will be able to watch a movie and relax yourself. You are probably going to be occupying the kids.  Your holiday doesn’t start until you get there basically.  My kids are so much easier to manage when I am 100% attentive to every little, “mummy watch my car,” or when I initiate play with them.
  • Remind yourself that the journey is all part of the adventure, especially for kids
flying with kids
Shut Up Biscuits – here they are again working on a train in Vietnam

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