Tips on Surviving a Long Flight with Kids. Bea, and Our Move to Canada

Last June, our merry family of three left the Philippines for the promise of a better future in Canada. The processing of our application as provincial nominee took almost 5 years. It was a long wait. We were even thinking that nothing will ever happen to it. Then one day, we got an email from the Canadian Embassy saying that we should schedule our medical exam. Wow! From then on, everything was a blur! Everything happened so fast. Of course we still had to attend to our family business, Bea still had school activities and then we also had to think about settling our affairs in the Philippines in preparation for our new life in Canada.

We attended several seminars in preparation for our move: the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP), the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) and of course the Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) by the philippine government.

The seminars talked to us about the transition we will experience as a new comer to a new country. They gave tips and suggestions as to how we can settle in our new environment. They talked more about the adults. They told us not to worry about our kids. Children adjust better than adults they say. Just give them 2 weeks playing outside and they'd have a Canadian accent already. That was good to know, but I was still a bit worried. How will Bea adapt? She can be a bit shy when meeting new people. It's a good thing that she has 3 cousins there, at least she already has playmates to look forward to.

On the day of our flight Bea was really excited, but I can also tell that she's a bit sad about leaving her Ninang and Lolo in the Philippines.

Bea was really a good girl during the flight. We had to fly on 3 planes. It was really tiring as it was, imagine if you had to travel with easily bored kids!

Here are some tips on surviving a long flight with kids:

Orient your child. Before the day of the flight, talk to your child and tell her what to expect during the flight. Tell her it would involve a lot of sitting down and waiting. Children get bored easily especially if they're all excited to go to new places. Expect the "Are we there yet?" question a lot. But at least they'd still know what to expect.

Research. Ask whether the planes you are riding had TV screens where your little one can watch cartoons or her fave educational movie. I think most planes do, but just in case they don't, be prepared with movies or games on your phone or tablet.

Bring toys and books. Don't bring toys with little parts that may fall off and get lost in the aisles. Just bring something like his favorite toy car or her favorite doll. Something that can keep her pre-occupied without making too much noise. Remember to be respectful of those sitting near you. If it's a long flight, it can be awkward having to deal with hateful glances from strangers. Better bring books too.

Bring snacks. The airline might have snacks to serve but these may not always be to your child's liking. Bring something you're sure your child likes. This will keep her and her tummy happy.

In our case, it helped that the planes also had individual TV screens where Bea watched cartoons. They showed The Lego Movie at that time and she loved it. When she got bored, she'd play with her toys. When she got hungry, she snacked on some cookies we brought from home. Good thing we brought snacks, Bea didn't really like the food they served on the flight. It wasn't that it was bad, she just wasn't familiar with chicken pita and salad. hehe..She wasn't a bit scared even during our flight from Vancouver to Edmonton where we experienced a lot of turbulence. Good thing we were prepared.

So far, Bea is adjusting pretty well here in Edmonton. She's attending school with her cousins. Language is not much of a barrier. Everyday she gets better and better in speaking English. She's also acquiring more and more of that Canadian accent. I'm just so proud of her!

Read our post about our last day in the Philippines here.

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