We have had our fair share of air travel with the kids. The first time we flew with our first born was when she was 5 month old and that was to Europe on a 11 hour flight. I must say that I was not prepared. I thought I was. I had packed enough diapers, wipes, snacks, and one spare change of clothes. However, what I was not prepared for was the diaper blowouts. Of course the first time it happened was fine, as we used the only spare clothes I had packed in her carry on. The second diaper blowout however left me to get creative and reuse her other dirty clothes. We did survive but not in the most pleasant way.
Needless to say we traveled a few times after that, and soon we will be traveling with not one but two toddlers. This means I will be needing strategies for dealing with tantrums and crying, and how to reduce them. So here are some tips to make air travel with a toddler a smoother experience (or at least that’s the hope).
- Choose a non stop flight with a convenient time: We have found that the closer it is to bedtime or nap time, the more likely our children will actually sleep on the plane. So, it is wise to choose a time that suits your routine.
- Arrive early and let the kids burn off some energy: Allow toddlers plenty of time to run around, play games and just move around. This is in hope that they will be tired by the time they get on the plane and hopefully sleep.
- Wear Comfortable clothes: If we are traveling abroad and are on a shut eye flight the kids usually wear their pj’s but for all other flights, we try and keep them as comfortable as possible.
- Seats: Choose convenient seats, we usually try to sit as close to the rest rooms as possible for quick diaper changes. If you are traveling with a baby, have the infant car seat with you just in case. Sometimes flight attendants are very accommodating and will allow to use another seat if one is available.
- Take off and Landing: To avoid the discomfort of the air pressure, it’s recommended to breastfeed babies and infants or give them bottles. Toddlers and older kids can eat a snack or drink water, milk or juice because the swallowing motion during the feed would eliminate the discomfort and alleviates the air pressure from causing a pain in the ear’s middle chamber
- Toys: Stock up on alot of toys, books, and activities. I remember the first time we traveled with a toddler, we gave her all the toys and allowed her to choose the ones she wanted to play with. That was not a good idea and this time around I will be giving them to her one at a time and change it out once she gets bored with them.
- Snacks: Stock up on snacks. This is another way to keep them entertained. Snacks like raisins, grapes, crackers and nuts are great for traveling.
- Screen time: It’s probably the only time you can loosen up on screen time, especially if you have exhausted all other options.
- Stress: The first time we flew with both kids, was the most stressful I had ever been from flying that by the time we boarded the flight I was exhausted. What I learned from that experience was to take it easy and not anticipate a smooth flight.
- Carry-on: Have everything that’s important for baby or toddler’s comfort handy. Have their pacifiers, sipping cups, feeding bottles, baby formula, change of clothes, diapers and other things in their carry-on and stow it under the seat.
Do you have any other tips?