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"How can you escape the British winter, when you have children in tow?" asks Kirsty McCabe

Kirsty McCabe prepares for a long haul flight with a pre-schooler and a toddler...

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Travel with children Have children, will travel

"This week, I'm into holiday-planning mode; we're heading off to South Africa soon to celebrate my children's great-grandmother's 100th birthday! Family from all over the world, from Norway to Australia, will be descending on Cape Town for this momentous occasion.

Once there, I know we'll have a fantastic time as the boys will get to spend some quality time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and of course, the birthday girl herself. Plus, we'll all enjoy escaping from the British winter for a few weeks.

However, 12 hours on a plane… not so much fun! We've survived the journey before with a toddler and a baby, but this time we'll have a pre-schooler and a toddler. Both of strong opinions and both with explorer tendencies."

[Travelling with children? Don't miss Junior's top tips and expert advice, along with plenty of family-friendly travel reviews, all on our family travel hub]

"Thankfully, we're going British Airways so we'll be making full use of the infant seat that attaches to the bulk head for my youngest, Logan. Otherwise it would be a very long journey with him on my lap, or more likely refusing to be on my lap.

I have made no attempt to wean him off the dummy yet. He does only get it for naps, night time or if he's really upset and my ears hurt. Hopefully his trio of dummies, he likes to have one in his mouth and one in each hand, will keep him quiet on the night flight.

In order to minimise the disruption to our fellow passengers, my husband and I will take one child each - the trusted 'divide and conquer' technique. My eldest, Ethan, will be nearly 4 and hopefully easier to distract and keep entertained. With this in mind we've been checking out the Kobo Kids' store on the Kobo Arc 7HD, or as Ethan likes to call it “my tab-eh-let”.

So far, he's been loving reading books on his Kobo 'tab-eh-let' before bedtime, and there's certainly a huge range to choose from. I've been reliving my childhood with the Ant and Bee books and we've even checked out some of the audio 'read-along' books (probably best avoided on a plane, unless I bring headphones on board).

If I was being picky, it would be great to have a library feature on Kobo Kids' store, so you could borrow a selection of books for a monthly subscription, as Ethan goes through books so fast and we could easily spend a fortune! Thankfully, I can control what he spends as his account is linked to mine.

Have you braved a long distance flight with your child? Do you have any top tips for how to keep them entertained and minimise disruption? Let us know by commenting below...

The Kobo Kids' store would certainly be a hit with older children, as they can browse safely and make their own purchases (depending on what their parents have set as an allowance). They can set reading goals and easily see how many books they've completed as they build up their library. So we'll definitely be packing the 'tab-eh-let' to read on the plane and at bedtimes, which saves us lots of space in our luggage. We'll probably put a few games on there too – the CBeebies app is always a winner. And we will no doubt resort to some old-school methods of Calpol and warm milk to encourage sleepiness rather than a 12-hour game session.

If you have any additional top tips or essential items for a long-haul flight with little ones – please let me know! In the meantime, I'm off to see if there are any summer clothes left in the sales."

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine every Friday to join in with the conversation

Read Kirsty's columns: 

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