Stuck in the Airport: Surviving Layovers with Kids in Tow

Is there anything worse than being stuck in an airport somewhere with toddlers in tow? Sure, it could be boring by yourself, but there’s nothing more stress-inducing than watching your four-year-old daughter get bored out of her wits. How are you going to entertain kids while at the airport? Is there even a way around it, or do you have to watch yourself go crazy? The truth is that you can make it fun for the family. While it’s not a walk in the park, it is also not the nightmare you imagine it to be.

Ask the Information Desk or Use Google

Trusty old Google will have all the answers for you. Find a blog that talks exactly about the same thing you’re going through right now. There’s plenty of those. If you cannot find an answer on Google, which is very unlikely, the information officer will have what you need. Ask about kid-friendly activities that you can do while there. Unless you are lucky enough to get stuck in Singapore’s Changi airport, there are a few fun things that one can do in an airport.

Some, of course, have gone above and beyond. Major airports have museums, aquariums, and play areas for kids. They also have entertainment centres, spas, and airport hotels for those so bored they’d rather sleep it off. In Singapore, an airport layover means an opportunity to enjoy a shopping spree in Changi. What better way to fend off the airport blues but to take the kids to a toy store?

Fill Their Stomachs

Kids are very much like adults. You can make them happy with chicken strips and waffles. Fill their stomachs with their favourites, and they’ll gladly be quiet for some 30 minutes after. If you’re lucky, they might even take a nap after filling their tummies with carbs like burgers, pasta, and rice. Try not to make them eat too many desserts, or you’ll have to watch them run around like crazy human beings around the airport. You might be the one who needs a sugar rush.

Remember that you can also take a culinary tour at the airport. The food court is not the best place for this, but it has plenty of options your kids will love. Let them pick what they want to try from each cuisine. It’s a great way to introduce them to different flavours and textures.

Pay for the Lounge


The airline’s business class passengers have free access to the lounge. That is part of the benefits of paying three times more than economy class passengers. But if you find your family stuck in the airport, the lounge might be the perfect place for you. It’s usually around $50 per person, and it’s free for kids two years old and under. It is worth it to be in an airport lounge because of the complimentary food, drinks, open bar, TV, comfy chairs, and free internet. For this scenario alone, you can let your kids watch YouTube and give yourself a break.

Ride the Airport Train

Most major airports have a train that takes you from one end of the airport to another. You can treat this as a somewhat visual field trip. The kids can see the difference between international and domestic terminals. You can hop from one terminal to another. That will take at least 30 minutes of your time. You’ll find differences in the cuisines being offered, as well as in the entertainment options, shopping, etc.

Walk with the Kids

Toddlers, specifically, love to walk. Instead of taking the tram, walk from one end of the airport to the next. The simple pleasure of walking is enough activity for them. The best part is that they’ll be so exhausted that they might even fall asleep as you wait for the plane to arrive. For older kids, you can teach them about the different signs that they’ll see in the airport.

Get a Spa

If your kids are old enough to get a foot spa and body massage, then take advantage of this opportunity. Not only are you going to feel more relaxed, but your kids will, too. Who knows? They might even fall asleep the moment the massage starts. That’s what’s great about this—you’re getting the massage you desperately need, and there might even be a chance your kids are going to let you rest, too.

Whether you’re in a small or big airport, it’s always a challenge to keep the kids entertained. The goal is to focus on what they want to do and what will pique their curiosity. As always with kids, it’s important to attract their attention, hold it for a few minutes, and then find another one that they’ll be curious about again.

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