Flying with a Toddler

Flying isn’t a super-exciting activity for anyone. Especially a 2 year old who likes to run around, doesn’t sit still, and isn’t a great sleeper.

But I decided that traveling was going to be priority, and that meant finding solutions because I didn’t want to leave my daughter at home. She has actually been on an airplane for 4 trips already, the longest flying from Philadelphia to Seattle (5 hours!) So here are some of the tips:

  1. Book your flight at a time that makes sense. You know your toddler’s schedule better than anyone else. When do you they nap? When do they go to bed? Build your schedule around that. Just be aware that even though you want them to sleep, it may not happen and if it does, it may not be their regular amount of time.

  2. If your child is under 2 years old and riding on your lap, book an aisle and a window seat . People are much less likely to book a middle seat, and you might get lucky and have some extra space. Once they turn 2, the party is over for free flying and you have to get them their own seat anyway. Downside= more money, Upside=more space.

  3. Get your child excited about the flight! Show them little clips about airplanes and how awesome they are so they don’t get scared or nervous about their new adventure. This 20 minute video from Blippi is perfect, my daughter sings the song anytime we talk about airplane/airport/flying.

Blippi Airplane Song

Blippi helps get kids excited about flying on airplanes.

4. Gate check your stroller! Delays happen all the time in airports, and my daughter has been entertained by pushing the stroller around. We have been able to take her for walks on layovers, and she fell asleep in it one time. Even if you think you can carry them through the airport, it’s so much easier to have it with you with the unforeseen events.

5. Snacks! You cannot have enough snacks. They are an activity for your child, all while making sure they are full and happy. Goldfish, little cookies, cheerios, and other munchies work great. I got little containers at Wall-Mart, packed them all in her bag, and would bring them out whenever I saw she was getting restless. Also, bring pouches! As long as they are not opened they are allowed on the plane, and those will keep them hydrated along with full!

6. Take a Walk! Every now and then, let your child walk up and down the aisle. It’s good for them and you to stretch your legs!

7. Download movies ahead of time! Do not count on airplane Wifi, it is the worst, and rarely free. We downloaded The Little Mermaid, Tangled, some Blippi and Elmo episodes! Short and long videos depending on the attention span. Then, get headphones specifically for kids, like the ones linked below (Only $13!) Even though my daughter won’t keep the headphones on for more than ten minutes, she will watch the videos without sound.

Kid Headphones

8. Have lots of activities! The dollar store is a great place to grab little things for your little one! Check out my dollar store shopping list below: All this fun for less than $15!

If you are questioning the painter’s tape, it’s to create a road for the cars, or to tape down the paper so we don’t color everywhere!

9. Try not to be too stressed about your toddler’s schedule. They probably won’t sleep when you want them to, they will scream every now and then, and the might kick the seat in front of you. Apologize if you feel the need, but anyone who has ever had a kid will understand, and if they don’t, f ’em.

10. When the child sleeps, DO NOT DISTURB! Do everything in your power to make it comfortable. Your neck pillow becomes theirs, you feel me? Sleep is the ultimate airplane goal.

And if they are like my daughter, they will fall asleep right about the time the pilot comes on and says they are making their final descent.

About to land, and finally asleep.

Don’t be afraid to travel with your child. It allows their world to open wide, and my daughter loves it. Just make sure to bring your parent travel pack too…

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