You KNOW you are a parent of a toddler when the word airport and vacation gets you stressed and these words have a whole new meaning to them. You once dreaded sitting near little kids on planes now you soothe yourself saying flying with a toddler doesn’t have to be a nightmare for anyone on board — including yourself. Gone are the days when you could relax on a flight and read a book and your hand carry was packed lightly. Now your entire hand carry is stashed with either hygiene products (wipes, extra clothing, diapers, and more) or toys and activities to keep your toddler entertained in a confined space 30,000 feet in the air.
Plan right and way ahead of time to allow yourself some sanity and have a tolerable air travel with a toddler. Here are some tips and a list of items to help you plan.
Wipes, wipes, wipes, wipes… did I mention wipes?
I cannot stress enough on this extremely crucial item. Even if all your children are long out of diapers, don’t forget to pack the wipes. They’re not just useful to clean dirty bums but also are a savior for dirty hands, refreshing your face (I hate how long flights can make your sebaceous glands over working) wiping down foldable tables, cleaning up all the mess your child will make, cleaning the toilet seat if your tot is potty training. In short I can’t think of travelling without this item.
Trust me, this can be a lifesaver. Pay up a bit extra if you have to, in return you will do yourself and the other hundred something passengers a favor. When booking, schedule the long stretches around your child’s nap. No guarantees that your tot will behave the same way at 30,000 feet and stick to his nap schedule, but even if they do take a short nap in the air it can be a wonderful reprieve.
In case you do have to take a connecting flight try not to spend that time napping on a layover since that’s the perfect time to let your toddler get those wiggles out.
You will thank yourself when your wiggly toddler for god knows how many more times would want to walk the aisle, needs a trip to the bathroom or asks for something totally random and not needed that’s stored in the overhead bin.
Everything you think you need, you WILL actually need the double.
1- Baby clothes: they find new and creative ways to destroy their clothing. So pack extra.
2- Your own clothes: for getting this item guarantees you’ll be thrown upon — or thrown at (ahem…apple juice is their favorite)
3- Diapers: Pack double the amount you think you need.
4- Snacks: It keeps them busy. Bring as much food as your carry on can fit. (mini sandwiches, bread sushi, string cheese, pouches, cut up veges and fruits are a few ideas.)
5- Toys: As for toys, don’t bring anything with tiny pieces that your child will miss when they fall under the seat. (if they do end up under the seat relax and don’t even try to fish it out)
Sucking on lollipops during takeoff and landing helps prevent child’s ear from hurting due to air pressure changes. Some suggest to get a sippi cup or a straw cup. However, I have never had good experience with liquids during ascend and descend my little guy never fails to throw up. So I either stick to a non-sugary lollipop (getting them to sit in a seat belted for a couple of hours with too much sugar intake can be next to impossible) or some crunchy snacks and yawning is another way to help pop ears.
This is not my favorite. I have a problem handing kids’ technology at such tender age. I always keep the technology handy but use it as my last resort.
However, be prepared and download your child’s fav apps to keep them entertained.
I usually make a small busy/quite time bag which has simple engaging activities that your child can do either independently or with little verbal guidance.
Besides the above, the obvious ones you want to look into would be to board early, ask for help (flight attendants are your allies) plan for the security line up and don’t rush! Everyone can wait. Take your time and don’t stress.
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