Everyone knows traveling with small children can be an anxiety ridden adventure (or let’s be honest, a total nightmare). It’s difficult to be stuck at 30,000 feet trying to console your children while random strangers stare at you! So to avoid some of those feelings, it’s a great idea to really prepare ahead of time in multiple ways to get your family ready for any trip. Hopefully some of the tips I share below will help any parent avoid a tantrum in flight, and instead having you sitting pretty (maybe even with a glass of wine). Here are my top 5 tips to help you all have a stress free journey.
- Help Your Toddler Prepare For Travel. Prep your toddler with the news that you will be flying to some amazing place (like Nana’s house, lol). The last time we flew with Willow we explained to her that we were flying to see her Nana, and that we were taking a magical airplane. I went and bought her a toy airplane so she could see all the parts of the airplane. Toddler’s minds are extremely literal, so referencing all the parts of the plane (such as, “this is where the captain sits”, “here is the door we will walk through”, “you can see out of all of these windows”, and “here are the wings”). We brought her airplane with us and she had so much fun pointing out each of the areas of the airplane when we boarded.
- Plan Activities Ahead Of Time. As we all know from experience small children have a small attention plan. Someone once told me to plan my flight in 30 minute increments with a new activity each half hour. So for my 3 hour flight, I had 6 activities for Willow. I brought old toys and some new toys (just for the element of surprise, knowing she would be more occupied with something new). I also put her toys in a small rolling backpack, so she felt like part of the grown ups walking through the airport rolling her own travel bag. She has one similar to this ONE. I packed her coloring books, stickers, small puzzles, dinosaur figurines, reading books, etc.
- Bring the IPAD/DVD Player. Yes, I know, don’t judge me just yet. I am not saying stick your kid in front of an IPAD all the time to keep them entertained. What I am saying is that flying is an exception, and if all else fails it is better to have some movies and apps downloaded already to keep your little one entertained. It also saves you from trying to bring your entire toy chest with you to keep your toddler distracted.
- Hand Sanitizer/Wipes/Essential Oils. I usually rarely use hand sanitizer on Willow and always prefer soap and water. But I always take these with with me when I travel, to help avoid catching nasty bugs. I mean who knows who was in the seat before you and what they did on their flight. So I always try to wipe down the seats, arm rests and tray tables with sanitizing wipes before we sit (this is what pre-boarding is for!). I also have Willow use hand sanitizer prior to eating on the plane and as needed. I add this Immushield on the whole family, it has 8 essential oils to help boost the immune system.
- Be Seriously Organized! I like to keep separate pouches to organize items I will need on the plane, like these Mommy and Toddler Things bags. They have a large label, and allow me to easily pull them out when needed. Here is what I always recommend bringing/doing:
- Protein Filled Snacks (thinking mini PBJ, nuts, bars)
- Sippy Cups, Bottles
- Suckers (if your child is old enough for take off and landing to help with ear pressure).
- Medications you may need.
- A change of clothes in case of accident (for you and your little one, plus a baggy for any soiled linen)
- Check if your airline has pre-boarding (trust me some don’t) and let the airline staff at the desk know you would like to pre-board, and then be ready at the desk when boarding starts.
- A pillow or soft animal your child can use to comfort themselves.
Good Luck! I hope this was helpful and it’s smooth flying for you all! If you find your self stuck in a full on tantrum, remember breathe deep, know that this flight WILL end, you WILL exit the aircraft and most likely NEVER see any one of those people ever again!
Photo Credit: LiveStyled Shop