Traveling on planes can be cramped, you may miss a meal and be hungry, and without the right provisions a flight can be boring. Flights with your toddler in tow compound travel woes on another level. How can you keep your child comfortable too? With a few tips for toddlers on airplanes and innovative new product designs you and your little one will be flying high and happy.
4 Tips for Toddlers on Airplanes
Let early birds fly ahead.
Families with small children have the privilege of being part of the first-to-board party. Pass this privilege on to other travelers. Instead, wait until the very last minute to board the plane. Ask a partner or flight attendant to install your car seat before you board. If you have an active toddler like my son, it works wonders for in-flight behavior. There is no fidgeting or settling in – just a simple buckle and go!
Yes, your toddler’s favorite snacks are a good idea – but being inventive and creating a novel experience will engage them. Try an assortment of new crackers, animal cookies or dried yogurt, fruits and veggies. I try any small container to create a “new” eating experience for my son while traveling.
If your toddler is not one to doze off on a flight—I can relate! I rotate from a short activity to a snack, and then around again. We literally passed an entire 2.5 hour plane ride with a half a dozen small snacks and a handful of 10-minute activities! What did we do?
In Flight Activities.
- iPad/Tablet apps for toddlers are good. Test them before leaving home to see if they are age appropriate.
- Load extra personal/home videos and photos on your smartphone. Let’s face it, most toddlers are incredibly vain and sometimes nothing is more entertaining than watching themselves on “TV.” It can also be comforting to see their personal spaces when traveling or in new and unfamiliar environments.
- Travel magnet boards and reusable stickers books help to keep little ones occupied in between a snack and their next activity.
- There are a lot of travel-sized coloring books and board books that use one simple “magic” pen (water-based) to “color”. Genius mess-free product for toddler travel fun!
- Mess free craft activities for kids that come in ready to go activity packs.
Pre- and post-flight prep.
Babies and toddlers are not required to remove their shoes in security, but I always recommend slip-on shoes for parents so you’re not juggling toddler while fidgeting with your belongings. Save jewelry and belts for another time so you only have to worry about removing your shoes. Ladies, maxi dresses are awesome for airport travel. Pack a cardigan in the diaper bag in case you get chilly. Combine diaper bags and purses while traveling so you can carry one less thing. Dads may consider slipping wallets into carry-on bags so they too only have to juggle a single personal item.
Mini strollers and portable high-chairs.
Designs are constantly improving! Umbrella strollers are great for short trips or if storage is lacking. For trips that are longer or if you have more packing space, try City Mini Stroller. The tray attachment allows for easier dining out, especially when dining al fresco in the warmer months. We typically pull the stroller right up to the table and don’t have to bother with germy highchairs. If you want a travel high chair, the Ciao Baby is awesome! Also protects against germy surfaces and offers a more comfortable seat for your little one. It folds down to nearly nothing…easy to sling over one’s shoulder. We used ours more than 3 dozen times this summer alone.
When it comes to picking your flight, if your schedule is flexible—opt for the earliest flight possible. Young ones who are bright and fresh after a full night’s rest often have a more pleasant travel experience. By the time you arrive at your destination, it may sync perfectly with your toddler’s nap time. Maybe Mom’s nap too. Oh, to be so lucky! I hope you found these tips for toddlers on airplanes helpful and feel free to share your own in the comments below.
Kaylee Schatz-Berg is a blogger in Raleigh. When Kaylee is not blogging, she is finding healthy recipes for her family and enjoying warm days when she can play with her toddler Asher outside. She is the force behind Her Heel Flops, a blog exploring travel, mommyhood, entertaining at home, and of course, toddler activities. www.herheelflops.com and @kayleeraleigh