My son has been on 8 plane rides(counting going to and from our destinations) Each time he has been occupied and the people sitting in front of us and behind us has commented that they didn’t even know there was a child near them. That makes me smile because I work hard to keep my toddlers sanity and mine when we are traveling. I have traveled recently without the help of my husband.
These are some of the things that I did that helped me during my trip. I will say this disclaimer: only YOU know the personality of your child and some of these things may work and some of them may not. I can only tell you what worked for me. I would highly suggest that you read this to give you some ideas and then you can make changes that may be needed to fit your child’s personality
1. Chose a flight time that is close or includes your child’s normal nap time: This has helped us every time we have flown, I have purposely paid a little more for my ticket just so I can get a nap time in. I know my son and if I wake him up early for a flight, he will go to sleep early. I also know that he only takes one nap a day so it’s important that I keep his sanity and mine. Sure the times may not be so convenient for us but the passengers and your child will thank you
2. Bring toys they have never seen before: As a childless person I always wondered what the big deal was when it came to those dollar bins at target. NOW I KNOW!!! That is one of the best places to get little coloring books, toys, little games that you can make a nice little goody bag for your toddler. It also helps that you don’t mind if they get lost while on the trip. Stickers are another genius thing to take. You can take vinyl stickers so they can stick it to the window on the plane(cheaper version would be sticky notes) Or you could also just by regular stickers and a notebook that they can put the stickers into.
3. APPS: I will not debate the pros and cons of a toddler using a tablet. I will say do what works for your family. I have a few apps that I love that are educational and keeps their attention for a while(if they decide not to take a nap or even just a quick one) Some of my favorite ones are: Endless ABC’s, Endless Numbers, Elmo Calls, Any of the fisher price apps and counting 123.
4. Favorite movies: My son will watch a few movies over and over, he will also watch them on silent and still be entertained. I make sure to put one or two movies on my tablet for the plane and any layovers I may have.
5. SNACKS: Did you know you can pretty much bring anything for a toddler lol I brought little baggies of Apples, Pears, A whole banana, peanut butter cheerios, some chicken cut up into pieces and water for my son. The key is to bring a variety that they will love. If you bring liquid for your child TSA will test it(without opening it, they have a machine that will do that) This was AWESOME, I was a little hungry on the flight and I was able to snack a little as well( say no thank you to those little mini pretzels that leave you wanting more)
6. I like to board early: Some parents who have high energy children will wait until the last min to board and that is great. My son needs to get into the mindset that we are about to sit. So when the flight states that all families may board that is what we do. This gives me a chance to get all situated without bumping into the person next to me. I can make sure that the bag that has all the goodies is within reach and this also gives my son a chance to stretch a little and wave to the passengers boarding, which he loves.
These are just a few things that have helped me when I travel. Sometimes I have to pull them all out on one flight and other times he may nap the entire flight or just want to look at a movie. Really depends on my sons mood. I will say that with travel you just need to be flexible and try to enjoy it. I pay the extra $50(roundtrip) to check my bags, it’s nice not to fight over the overhead compartment and to only have to worry about your kid on the flight. Remember, when you are calm that helps your child be calm, we all know that traveling can be stressful but it’s only for a short trip, you can make it.