FLYING WITH A TODDLER SURVIVAL GUIDE
Let’s not beat around the bush, flying with a toddler is not for the faint-hearted, and can be a real nightmare. Most of us that have been through this can testify to the fact that if not planned correctly this can end up as being something to remember, and not in a good way.
If you’re flying with toddlers you might be worried about arriving on the other side with your sanity intact. What if they run around screaming, being a nuisance to others? What if the experience is so bad that the whole holiday goes for a ball of crap? Well, with just a little bit of planning and taking the necessary aids with you, you can survive the flight. You might even have an enjoyable time.
There are a few choices you have to make when booking your flight. Up until the baby’s second birthday you are allowed to fly for free as a lap child. Ok, I get it, we have a budget and need to cut down on costs, paying for an extra ticket might make a huge difference. Please consider this very carefully, saving cost on a ticket but losing your sanity in the process is just not worth the saving. Think about your child’s personality for a second, you will know if your child is the “sit on your lap” kind of child for 12 hours. If that’s not the case DO NOT take the chance, you will regret your decision. Should you however still decide to travel with a toddler on your lap, I wish you the best of luck and hope to see you on the other side in one piece.
Let’s have a look at some things to take into consideration when flying with a toddler.
DON’T VACCINATE AND FLY
Should your toddler need any vaccinations before flying, please do this at least one week prior to flying. Should you decide to leave vaccinations to the last minute you might end with a feverish child, or worse, running tummy.
BOOK A NIGHT FLIGHT
Book a flight over your toddlers sleeping time, and try to book a non-connecting flight. Having your toddler sleep a few hours or most of the flight is a God’s sent and can make the flight feel a lot shorter.
BE FIRST AT THE AIRPORT, BUT BOARD LAST
Try to be early at the airport with lots of time to sort out seating issues clear security and do pre-booking. Should you book in early, the airports will also try accommodating you by giving you seats with more space, like the front seats. They might even give your toddler his own row of seats, obviously, all depends on the availability and being there early. Being early will also help with that last-minute diaper change or toilet runs.
One of the advantages, or maybe the only advantage traveling with toddlers is that you have the right to board first. Early boarding is not as big a blessing as it seems since it means that you will spend 30-45 minutes more time on the airplane than needed. What you can do is to send your spouse in first to take in all the gear and put it in the overhead compartment, but you need to board as late as possible with your toddlers.
PACK A BAG FOR THE PLANE FOR EACH CHILD
Pack a bag for each child – this does not have to be a huge bag. Invest in something like the Trunki. Trunkis are a little expensive but from my experience worth every penny. Kids can keep themselves busy while propelling themselves around while sitting on top.
The Trunki is not only a mini-suitcase for the kiddies but also a ride-on toy which keeps them entertained. There are different Trunkis to choose from with different themes, and children just love them. Trunkis have straps on that allows you to pull the toddler around saving the little legs. Although I think it is more fun being pulled than walking and that is the only reason they want to be propelled.
Trunki The Original Ride-On Terrance Suitcase.
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- Perfect for planes, trains, and automobiles and at home, encourages pretend play and doubles as toy trunk
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- Ride-on, tow-along, carry-on suitcase, ideal for vacations, sleepovers, weekends away
Try to hide the content of the bags from your toddler until the very last minute to keep the suspense, and also him trying to raid the bag before you even get to the plane.
GET A PORTABLE DVD PLAYER OR TABLET
Yes, I know we say keep electronics away from toddlers, but holidays are meant for bending the rules a bit. Beforehand you can download some kid’s games or children friendly apps to your tablet or smartphone or whatever device you decided on taking along. I strongly suggest having a look at something like the FIRE HD
This little kiddie’s tablet kicks a real punch when it comes to features. I know it is little much to spend, but you will be forever grateful that you made the investment. Just have a look at all of its features.
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB, Kid-Proof Case
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- Kid-Proof Case, plus a 2-year worry-free guarantee
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- The included 1 year of FreeTime Unlimited gives your kids access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more. Your subscription will then automatically renew every month starting at just $2.99 per month plus applicable tax. You may cancel at any time by visiting the Amazon Parent Dashboard or contacting Customer Service
- 2-year worry-free guarantee: if they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked.
- One year of Free Time Unlimited gives you access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more
- Add even more content to your child’s profile in Free Time to give them selected access to apps in your personal library, such as Netflix, YouTube, and Minecraft
- Best-in-class parental controls allow you to manage usage limits, content access, and educational goals
- Amazon Parent Dashboard with Discussion Cards enables parents to discover the titles their kids enjoy and connect with them through rich conversations about these titles
It is also a good idea to take some non-digital toys with – some of the examples you could consider are:
- Stickers and sticker book
- Soft toys
- Small cars
- Post-it flags
- Your kid’s favorite toy. Please do not lose it on holiday though.
- Colouring books with crayons, try triangle crayons, they will not roll off the table.
GIVE YOUR TODDLER LITTLE GIFTS
It is a good idea to keep a bag of tricks up your sleeve, some little presents here and there when they do not or cannot sit still anymore. This really do not have to be expensive toys. The little ones will be amused by new things, not expensive things.
SPARE CLOTHES, WET WIPES AND PULL UPS
Always pack an extra set of clothes, extra underwear and a full set of pants and shirts. It might be a good idea to pack a full change set for arrival at the airport, with the arrival weather in mind. Pack enough wet-wipes. You will ALWAYS need wet-wipes. Should your child still wear diapers, then always pack enough diapers in your carry-on bag. A safe bet will be, one diaper per hour on the flight, and then two or so extra diapers just in case. Do not forget the hand sanitizer and extra plastic bags as well. Your little one may have moved on from pull-ups, but believe me, it is a great backup when flying. Should your little one moved on from pull-ups do not make a big fuss about it. Just pack it in and put it on as if it is the most normal thing in the universe. Also, the pull-ups these days almost looks like shorts. The last thing you want is an in-seat accident.
Please take note of the airline’s regulations with regards to the amount of fluid and any other regulations that might have an impact beforehand.
Some ideas for a medicine bag:
- Kids antidiarrheal
- Kids Polysporin
- Junior Advil for 2+ years
- Junior Tylenol for 2+ years
- Kids Benadryl
- Saline drops for stuffy noses
SNACKS, WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT FORGET THE SNACKS
Somehow toddlers are always hungry at the most difficult times. A toddler that is hungry only thinks about one thing .. food, snacks, sweets. Should you not satisfy that need NOW, they will become a cranky toddler. Try to opt for the healthy options, stay away from sugars and colorants. That desperate sleeping time that you planned will suffer should you decide on sugary, colorful snacks.
- Fruits, like banana, apples, and pieces of cut pine-apple are a good choice.
- Cheerios, muesli bars, dehydrated fruit, sandwiches and squeezy pouches are also good ideas.
- You could also opt for boiled eggs, cooked pasta, full-fat yogurt, cheese squares and nutritional snacks.
- If you think you have enough snacks, stop and add more, you can never have enough snacks. A happy mouth is a happy toddler.
- Bring your own snacks and try to stay away from the airport’s shops, they are expensive.
- Also, bring as much water or fruit juice as allowed on the plain.
PREPARE FOR AIR PRESSURE
Ear pain and nausea may be experienced when ascending or descending, due to air pressure fluctuations.
Some small things you can try to help your toddler during these air pressure fluctuations, to help with ear pain or nausea.
- Drink a lot of fluids (water is best) during the flight. Drinking water encourages swallowing which helps “open” the ears and also for the dry air in the airplane, which could thicken nasal mucus, making it more likely for the ear tubes to become clogged.
- Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen about a half hour before take-offs or landings if you know your child has ear pain when flying.
- Let your toddler chew gum or hard candy, only if your child is older than 3 years.
- Sucking on something like a pacifier or bottle will also help
- Show your toddler how to Yawn frequently
- Try to keep your Toddler awake takeoffs and landing
- Drink Fluid right after take-off and then 30 minutes before landing again
KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE
So, the whole time we have tried to get the little one to keep calm and not be too much of a nuisance to our fellow passengers. However, even though we tried everything there might still be some incidents that were just not in our control. Remember, as long as you’re trying, you will have most passengers on your side. Don’t let any glares get to you, or get into a fight with fellow passengers.
More and more people are traveling with toddlers via air, so people should become more accustomed to traveling with toddlers as well. Children will be children and the fact remains, it does not matter how hard you try sometimes, the flight might just be a nightmare and you need to get through it. Do not be overly harsh on your toddler, this is just as difficult to him as it is to you. Remember some of the rules go out the window when traveling and going on holiday to be a little more lenient towards your toddler.
Have a safe flight with your toddler and remember the journey is as important as getting to the destination.