If like me the thought of spending many hours on a plane with a toddler is nothing short off soul destroying then you are not alone. It’s not a natural environment for you and your toddler and there is no telling what could happen. Having flown with small children many times I have popped together some ideas and tips to help you deal with flying with your toddler.
1. Prepare your toddler in advance and build the anticipation
Talk about the journey, let them know how exciting it will be and how you are looking forward to it. Let them get involved with packing a bag of things to take with them. I have written before about what to take with you when you travel with kids HERE.
2. If possible, fly at night
Flying at night will can allow them to sleep for some of the flight, especially if you cut any naps if possible in the day. We have found that 8-9pm flights or early morning can be less busy and far quieter for everyone making it more conducive to sleep.
3. Carry toys for distraction
Toys work like a charm when trying to distract from any meltdowns. Make sure you have a variety of toys and do not reveal them all at the same time. Their span of interest in something is short-lived and they will be looking for the next interesting item. I prefer to not take expensive toys as if they get lost or damaged on the flight there is no major issues for either of you.
4. Play games on your phone or tablet
Why not play games on your phone. You can download age-appropriate games and let them have a good time trying to figure out mazes and puzzles. You can also let them watch videos and listen to age-appropriate music. Remember however this like any other distraction it may not last long before they don’t want it anymore.
5. Keep hydrated
Have plenty of fluid around for your toddler whenever they need to drink something. If you are breastfeeding, ensure your baby is well fed throughout the flight. This will keep them satisfied and less irritable.
6. Pack a lot of snacks
Have a variety of snacks to hand and again don’t show them all to the toddler in one go. Try and space the snacks out throughout the flight if you can.
7. If possible, ask for a bulkhead seat
If possible, ask the airline, when making a booking, to offer you a bulkhead seat so that you can have enough leg room and let your toddler get down when they need too. Having that bit of extra space means the passengers in front of you doesn’t get bumped and kicked.
Joshua once slept a whole flight stood up with this head on the seat!
8. Have spare clothing
Always carry a spare set of clothes, for all of you. There is no telling what might happen. Your toddler may throw up so carrying a full outfit for them and a spare set of yourself means that poonami incident mid air can be cleaned without major drama.
9. If travelling with a partner or friend, take shifts
Manoeuvring through the airport with a toddler and luggage can be hectic. If you are travelling with your partner, enlist their help. Let them handle the luggage at some point and alternate taking care of the kid in the plane. This could be a great way to relieve some pains involved in flying with a child.
10. Arrange for down time during travel
If traveling for a long time, arrange for downtime where possible. If travelling long haul try to get stop overs to break up the travel. For shorter flight why not see if you can delay getting on that transfer bus for a while to go and eat and sit with your toddler before starting the next bit of the journey?
The fear of flying with your toddler is most certainly worse than the reality. Don’t worry about other people on your flight and any noise if your toddler is having a meltdown. A large proportion of those on the same flight will have dealt with a similar situation at some point in their lives and if you get anyone giving you grief just remember your toddler will calm down but that dick who has a problem will always be a dick.
We don’t have anymore trips planned this year but next year The Oliver’s will be back in the sky again!