Travelling is both a luxury and sometimes a necessity. Traveling by air as adults is far more straightforward than traveling with toddlers. Many long-haul flights later, I have some tips on flying with toddlers to share with you. Whether you are visiting family, going on pilgrimage, or simply taking a vacation, this post is for you!
This post is about tips on flying with toddlers and what you need to survive.
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Tips on Flying with Toddlers and What You Need:
Antibacterial Wipes and Hand Sanitizer:
Airplanes are not clean places, and toddlers love touching everything – the not-so-perfect combination. If you’re traveling as a family, you could aim to have one adult get to the seats first with antibacterial wipes in hand and quickly wipe down the seats, armrests, trays, and all the areas you think your toddler may touch. Especially post COViD pandemic, you will feel anxious about germs as your children explore their new space; wiping down offers some reassurance. Keep these wipes handy because you will need to use them throughout your flight.
Also, when using the washroom in airplanes, the water pressure is subpar, so it’s best to keep hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes by your side to help remove any germs you couldn’t wash off properly.
Don’t Board With Family Boarding:
Despite what they tell you, avoid boarding with family boarding. Being the first on the plane also means you must entertain and contain your children for longer. However, if you have multiple carry-on bags, waiting to board might mean you won’t get available overhead compartments near your seat. But if that’s not a concern, consider waiting as long as possible, without missing your flight!
Have Small ‘Gifts’ Ready For When You Need It:
Depending on the duration of your flight, you may want to give your children one small toy every couple of hours to keep them excited, busy, and entertained. These are especially useful for those unexpected tantrums and when nothing else is helping. You can purchase these from your local dollar store, and they can be anything from a new pencil, eraser, small plush toy to squeeze, or even a little surprise snack. If you don’t have time to head to the dollar store, you can check out these fidget toys party pack favors for kids.
It may go without saying, but spare clothes may be necessary during the journey. You never know if there will be a spill, urine/bowel accidents, or even nausea and vomiting, so it’s good to arrive with some extra clothing just in case. You may also want to pack extra clothes for yourself – it’s always good to be prepared for what might end up on you.
Hand Lotion For Everyone:
Airplanes are dry. Pack kid-friendly hand lotion to keep your children’s skin and yours from cracking.
If there are any messes on clothes, it’s easier to have gallon-size Ziploc bags to put the dirty items into, contain odors and avoid contamination. Ziploc bags don’t take much room when unused, so they’re the ideal choice.
Homeopathic Remedies For Sleep and Nausea:
Usually, you will see suggestions for over-the-counter children’s sleeping aids for flights, but homeopathic remedies like Chamomilla are a better alternative. Generally, Chamomilla is used to treat colds and teething pain for kids, but because it is known to help calm children who have difficulty settling down, it’s a good choice for the plane. Chamomilla comes from the daisy family; as always, it’s best to check with your doctor before using homeopathic remedies.
Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks:
Although long-haul flights have food every few hours, that might not be enough for toddlers. Packing your toddler’s favorite snacks is the best way to go. Be sure to factor in the airport, airplane, and journey to your final destination.
Pro tip: If you grab a daily medicine dispenser and put snacks in each compartment, it will be fun and exciting for your toddler to open and close, all while practicing hand coordination.
These are a fun flight choice because they can keep the children entertained while learning. Nowadays, you can find many busy books to suit your learning milestones. Our children learned to tie laces by practicing on the plane.
A complete list of activities designed to keep your toddler entertained is included at the end of this post.
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Headphones For Toddlers:
While airlines offer headphones to flyers, they generally don’t fit toddlers. Coming prepared with volume-controlled padded headphones for your children will serve two purposes. First, it will allow them to hear movies on the screen comfortably without having to fidget with the headphones. Second, the padded headphones help during take-off when most children feel uncomfortable with the loud noise.
Yoto Mini Player:
You may find yourself in a situation where your little one has trouble sleeping and may need extra support. The Yoto mini, a screen-free audio device, is your best bet for those moments. You can find audiobooks for kids, bedtime stories, and sounds designed to promote sleep. Have your family members record messages for your little ones to listen to throughout the flight for an even more unique experience.
Fly Away Toddler Bed:
You’ll find this bed is excellent; it is essentially an inflatable that allows your toddler to lie down in their regular seating instead of trying to sleep sitting down. But the biggest drawback is that not all flights allow fly-away beds. Before making this purchase, check with your airline if a fly-away bed is permitted. If it is, this one is the best because it’s suitable for regular and extra leg room seats. Its design allows you to sit anywhere on the plane without compromising its function.
Now I know you think this is a weird option, but hear me out. If you have a toddler, chances are they have been potty trained. That said, many children feel uncomfortable using public washrooms. Cleanliness is a factor; the loud flushing noises can be scary, and public toilets are usually too high for children’s comfort. Also, the reality is that some children don’t like to do a bowel movement in an unfamiliar bathroom.
Carrying a poppy potty in your diaper bag is an excellent option for all those scenarios. This specific potty is a perfect size for a toddler and so compact that it hardly takes any space. You also can try it at home, so once you arrive at the airport, your child is familiar with the potty, and you’ll have fewer tantrums in public washrooms.
When traveling in general, constipation is always a risk for children- this might also help prevent some of those challenges.
Cell Phone Mount:
You may need to ease your screen time restrictions during travel. As a lifeline, you may need to pull out your phone for your children to use, and instead of having them hold it close to their faces, you could mount the phone on the seat. This way, you keep things hands-free and provide some safe screen distance from the eyes.
If you’re not allowed a fly-away toddler bed, you will want some neck pillows for your little ones. These are ideal because they prevent your child’s head from hanging forward, resulting in more comfortable sleep.
Whether it’s a sippy cup or a water bottle, it’s a good idea to keep kids hydrated on the plane. Using airline cups increases the chances of spills; therefore, it’s best to stick with your own.
Use The Aisles When You Need To:
Sitting down for too long can make children fidgety, so a fun way to help them move is to take periodic walks down the aisle. You can make it a game to see how many steps they take or take a stroll. Doing this will help blood circulation and change the scenery. It may even act as a reset if all else fails.
Complete List of Activities for Toddlers on Long-Haul Flights:
Here is a complete list of activities that can come in handy when you need them on the plane – you’ll thank me for it! The above tips on flying with toddlers and the below list of activities will free your hands so you can get much-needed “me time” and maybe even a nap!
In the end, long-haul flights are challenging for children and parents alike. It’s not normal for toddlers to be stationary for long periods, so their frustrations are valid, and keeping that in mind is essential. Stepping into your travel journey with a realistic mindset will help.
Best of luck with your travels!
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This post was all about tips on flying with toddlers and what you need to survive.
What are some flying tips you swear by?