Fly with a toddler and live to tell the tale
Toddlers can make lovely traveling partners, they can also terrorize you and your seat mates. I try to preempt my toddlers outbursts by trying to keep them fed, comfy and entertained and hopefully, they won’t be provoked. Of course toddlers are unpredictable and even the best laid plans can and often do fail. I just try my best which is all any parent can hope to do.
Here’s how I handle the whole thing:
1. Choose the best flight for your family
Do you have a particularly energetic child? Maybe the connecting flight option makes more sense so you can give them a run-around-wiggle break. Does your babe go to sleep early? Then perhaps the flight arriving at your destination at 9pm isn’t the best option either. Sometimes, we don’t have the luxury of choosing flights that work for everyone and we have to go with the cheapest but when you can, level the playing field by trying to choose flights that already work with your schedule.
2. Bring familiar and favorite snacks
My boy doesn’t love to eat at the best of times so I try to make it easier on us all while traveling by packing his favorite things to eat. This means lots of goldfish, Annie’s bunnies, grapes, gummy snacks, bananas and applesauce on my person at all times.
3. Keep them at the right temperature
My kid gets hot really easily and airplanes can be hot one minute and freezing the next. To help manage this I bring a lightweight blanket and dress him in layers: t-shirt, lightweight pants or leggings, lightweight long sleeve or sweater and hoodie. I start with the long sleeve on and remove if necessary. I have never had to use the hoodie but wouldn’t want to have to deal with a cold baby so I still bring it along.
4. Ditch the car seat
Kids have to be in either a car seat or CARES harness device until they weigh at least 40 pounds. The CARES harness is a great alternative to a bulky car seat, FAA approved for air travel and will give your travelling buddy a much more roomy and comfortable seat for the long flight. A comfy baby is a happy baby and bonus points, the CARES harness is light and can fit inside your bag. No more hauling heavy, bulky car seats through the airport or tiny airplane aisles. Learn more about it here!
5. Vary the entertainment and keep it coming!
I mix up our in-flight entertainment. As soon as we sit down I stick post-it notes and flags all over our seats so he can busy himself with removing the stickies while we are unable to lower our tray tables. As soon as we have lift off that tray table comes down and we start with the activities! I start with stickers on plain paper, move on to coloring books, then coloring on plain paper, then snacks. I then introduce the cooler toys, trucks or cars. My final act is a tablet with a few movies or shows downloaded on it. We have a Kindle Fire Kids Edition and highly recommend it.
6. Stay flexible
Murphy’s law is real y’all. No matter how well you plan everything can and sometimes will go wrong. Be ready for it by keeping your expectations low. Everything will be slower with your toddler but everything will also be more adorable!
What are your travel with toddler tips? Tell me about them before my next trip!